Some parents of Enos Garcia Elementary students are calling on the school to improve their notification system after word spread of an incident earlier in the week when a student threatened a teacher.
On Tuesday (Feb. 13), an elementary school student made a hand gesture in the shape of a gun, pointing at a teacher, according to Taos Police Chief David Trujillo. School officials reported the incident to law enforcement the following morning, he said.
The student did not make a verbal threat, nor did the student have a weapon, according to Trujillo, who called the incident "minor."
Only the parents of the student who made the threat, as well as those of children in the same classroom, were evntually notified by school officials, according to Enos Garcia Principal Dr. Gladys Herrera Gurule. However, at least two parents of students in the same classroom contend they weren't notified.
An all-staff meeting was held Friday (Feb. 16) to discuss safety procedures and possible improvements.
Yet the incident at Enos Garcia sparked worry among some parents on social media, especially because rumors of the incident came on the heels of a fatal school shooting in Florida Wednesday (Feb. 14) that claimed the lives of at least 17 people.
There was also a Jan. 31 incident involving a high school student discharging an air-soft gun in the Enos Garcia gym.
Enos Garcia Elementary parent Teresa Martinez called a meeting with the principal to discuss the Feb. 13 incident, the lack of parent notification and solutions for improving responses in the future.
"I kept getting here-and-there answers [from the school]," said Martinez. "We're still nervous and unsettled."
School officials said they followed the correct channels and protocols. But parents and community members are calling for more rapid and robust notification on issues such as threats.
"We are taking this serious. Notification is going to take place," said Herrera Gurule, promising to work on a system to alert parents of such incidents while not compromising the identity of any students in question.
Beyond parent concerns, Tuesday's incident also raised questions about the amount of time it took the school to alert law enforcement. "We need to have these reports immediately," Trujillo said. "The sooner we get them, the less gossip and hearsay there will be."
Reporters John Miller and Cody Hooks contributed to this story. For more information, see the Feb. 22 edition of The Taos News.