Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Greg Ewing on Thursday participated in a school safety forum in Albuquerque, featuring students, stakeholders and administrators from across the state. The roundtable discussion, which was hosted by Central New Mexico Community College, was organized by the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General.

Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Greg Ewing, left, and Aztec Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Carpenter, right, discuss ways to improve school security during the School Safety Forum on Thursday, August 30, 2018. The event, organized by the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, was held at Central New Mexico Community College.

Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Greg Ewing, left, and Aztec Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Carpenter, right, discuss ways to improve school security during the School Safety Forum on Thursday, August 30, 2018. The event, organized by the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, was held at Central New Mexico Community College.

The purpose of the forum was for student and stakeholders to engage in a dialogue about the root causes of school violence, and to discuss what must be done to make schools safer throughout New Mexico. More than 150 students, teachers, community members and school leaders attended the event.

Ewing told the audience about several of the initiatives currently underway at LCPS to improve safety and security at schools, including capital improvements at several campuses. He also stressed the importance of the role the district’s new Department of Equity, Innovation and Social Justice will play in developing and implementing restorative practices, expanding mental health services, and developing ethnic studies courses to instill a sense of pride and belonging in students who may otherwise feel marginalized.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas addresses a group of students, educators and key stakeholders on Thursday at the School Safety Forum, presented by the Office of the Attorney General. The half-day roundtable brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss ways to improve school safety.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas addresses a group of students, educators and key stakeholders on Thursday at the School Safety Forum, presented by the Office of the Attorney General. The half-day roundtable brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss ways to improve school safety.

“I truly believe the role of a leader is to build relationships,” Ewing said. “The same goes for improving school safety. By developing stronger relationships throughout our educational community, involving students in the decisions that impact them, and better communicating with the community at large — I believe these things will go a long way toward making our schools safer.”

Criminal Justice students from CNM, high school student leaders from the March for Our Lives – Albuquerque movement, and students from Aztec High School — which was the target of a school shooting on Dec. 7, 2017, during which two students were killed — participated in a student roundtable discussion.

Adam Jones, left, and Sarah Gifford, right, students from Aztec High School, participate in a roundtable discussion with students on school safety. The School Safety Forum took place at Central New Mexico Community College on Thursday, August 30, 2018.

Adam Jones, left, and Sarah Gifford, right, students from Aztec High School, participate in a roundtable discussion with students on school safety. The School Safety Forum took place at Central New Mexico Community College on Thursday, August 30, 2018.

Administrators and leaders from Albuquerque Public Schools, Santa Fe Public Schools, Aztec Public Schools, National Education Association – New Mexico, American Federation of Teachers – New Mexico, the New Mexico Public Schools Facilities Authority, CNM, the New Mexico School Boards Association and Open Skies Behavioral Health Center participated in a key stakeholder dialogue to discuss their roles in addressing school safety.

— Damien Willis, LCPS Director of Communications, 575-527-5811, dwillis@lcps.net