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ABQ Schools Welcome Students with Open Arms – and Armed Guards?

September 5, 2007

Albuquerque, NM – The Albuquerque school board will consider a recommendation tonight to create an independent school police force and to arm all officers. Rio Grande High School teacher Rosina Roybal says the idea has had a mixed reaction from students.

"A lot of the students are feeling like they're in jail, like they’re not being trusted at school. They don’t agree with the arming of our security guards. Then, in our class discussions, there have been students who are pro-gun, so we have some good conversations about it."

Orlando Mancha is a junior at Albuquerque High. He says armed police wouldn’t make him feel safer at school.

"We would be fighting fire with fire if something were to happen. There are a lot of other ways that we could prevent certain things from happening where we don't need to use that type of force."

Roybal says security guards can help make a school safer and can be good role models, but adding guns is too unpredictable and sends the wrong message to students. The Community Safety Commission recommended the armed force as the best option for "creating a safe learning environment." However, Roybal says she'd like to see alternative approaches, including more resources for counseling and extracurricular activities.

Tonight's school board meeting begins at 5:00 PM.

Eric Mack/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NM