Enos Garcia evacuated August 15

Officials: Parents concerned over Amalia compound children

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 8/16/18

Enos Garcia Elementary School was evacuated Wednesday (Aug. 15) after authorities were alerted to a bomb threat at the school that proved false.Taos Police …

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Enos Garcia evacuated August 15

Officials: Parents concerned over Amalia compound children

Posted

Enos Garcia Elementary School was evacuated Wednesday (Aug. 15) after authorities were alerted to a bomb threat at the school that proved false.

Taos Police Chief David Trujillo confirmed that there was no bomb nor actual threat made to the school. Instead, Trujillo said a parent was given misinformation, but the school was still evacuated and searched due to the police procedure in such a circumstance.

"We found that there was no real bomb threat and it was all rumor," Trujillo said.

Trujillo and Taos Municipal Schools Superintendent Lilian Torrez attributed the miscommunication to social media chatter about the whereabouts of the 11 children taken into state's custody from a makeshift compound near Amalia. Torrez said she had been getting calls from parents and community members concerned that the children would be placed in Taos Municipal Schools for their learning.

"We have a lot of work that still needs to be done in regards to assessments with these children," said Monique Jacobson, Cabinet Secretary for the state Children, Youth and Families Department.

Jacobson confirmed that none of the children from the Amalia compound will be placed in any Taos County schools and that the department is nowhere near ready to start discussing schooling plans for the children. Jacobson added that in the past with situations similar to the Amalia incident, traditional public schools may not be the best option and that the department would also look at alternatives like home schooling if it fit the needs of the children.

Reports that the children in the Amalia compound were being instructed on how to carry out school shootings surfaced from an ongoing investigation of the property. Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and four other adults were taken into custody Aug. 3 after a law enforcement raid on the property. They were charged with 11 counts of child abuse.

Investigators found several weapons and alleged evidence of weapons training at the compound. Law enforcement officials testified Monday (Aug. 13), at a district court hearing for the defendants, that the children were learning to carry out shootings and to target "corrupt institutions."

No threats were discovered at Enos Garcia, but children and staff were still escorted to Par Field across from town hall as part of the evacuation protocol.

"It's always good to be safe," Torrez said.

In order to curb any misinformation in the future, Trujillo said to not solely rely on information from one source.

"If people have any concerns, call the source," Trujillo said. "If it's a concern with the schools, call the schools."

Questa Independent School superintendent LeAnne Salazar also said the children were not registered to attend schools there.

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