On Friday, lawmakers advanced a bill that would make it easier for New Mexico school districts to recruit retired law enforcement officers to work as school security guards. The proposal took form in the wake of the December 2017 school shooting in Aztec, in which two students were killed.
The House Education Committee used their last meeting of the 2019 session to debate a bill brought by Sen. Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho).
Currently, retired public employees lose some of their pensions if they go to work in a public school. Brandt told the committee the bill would eliminate that barrier for retired police officers.
"Let’s say they worked in the school system for ten years," said Brandt. "The amount of loss they would have to their retirement is pretty extreme. I think we want to have those people in our schools, protecting our children."
It would still be up to each school district whether to allow guards to carry firearms. That’s something Rio Rancho schools rolled out this week. It’s been a month since a student fired a gun at Cleveland High School there; no one was hurt.
Some lawmakers voiced concerns about the state’s troubled pension fund. Still, they voted unanimously to send the bill to the House.
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