Governor plans to sign bill allocating $40M for school security

Gov. Susana Martinez said Tuesday she would sign legislation earmarking $10 million annually for four years to improve security at New Mexico schools.

The bill comes as the nation grapples with how to respond to campus shootings that have upended the sense of safety in the daily routines of many students and parents. While New Mexico leaders have done little to restrict access to firearms, as has been proposed elsewhere, lawmakers this year rallied around proposals to devote more money for school security.

Under Senate Bill 239, sponsored by Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, schools can apply to the state starting this year for funds to pay for improvements such as fences, intercom systems and door locks.

Lawmakers and school administrators alike highlighted what they argued was the need for basic security improvements at some campuses after a gunman killed two students and himself at Aztec High School in December. One substitute teacher who did not have a key to lock the door of her classroom was credited with saving lives by shepherding students into an adjoining room, where they were able to barricade the door.

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