Last year, after a young man shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Las Cruces Public Schools added security guards to its elementary schools.
It had already begun fortifying school buildings in response to earlier mass shootings.
As the school year starts in Las Cruces, it is drill season. Over the next month, once a week students and teachers will practice lock-down, shelter in place, evacuation and fire drills, said Sean Barham, associate director of operations for public safety at LCPS.
But looming over them will be Saturday’s slaughter less than 50 miles down the interstate in El Paso, a city where many have strong family or cultural ties and where many of the victims looked like the students returning to school this week in Doña Ana County. Barham knows this year’s drills could evoke deeper anxiety. “You’ve got to give them the skills they need,” he said. “You also have to balance it out because you want kids to want to come to school and feel safe.”
Security measures have been increased at Las Cruces Public Schools campuses in the wake of school shootings across the U.S. This notice is at Jornada Elementary School’s front entrance.