Editor's note: You can scroll to the bottom of the article to watch the superintendent's full interview.
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - On the second-to-last day of school, Las Cruces students and parents were shocked to learn that multiple children and adults were shot and killed in a Texas school.
“That’s just devastating," said Miguel Mendez, a father of a fifth grader at Loma Heights Elementary. "We’re trusting them with our children’s lives."
"It's just sad," said his son José.
“The number one nightmare I have as a superintendent, as a principal, as a teacher, is the nightmare of a tragic, horrific, event like this," said Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Ralph Ramos. “I need everyone’s help. We need everyone to be very vigilant."
According to Las Cruces Public Schools, the district has invested $3.3 million in safety projects since 2018. Much of that money came from bond elections.
“We act," Ramos said. "We don’t treat things as just a drill anymore. We react as if it’s the real thing fixing to happen.”
On Monday evening, the Doña Ana County/Las Cruces Office of Emergency Management had updated city leaders on the department's efforts to prepare for mass casualty events.
“Our thoughts and prayers really are with the families and the emergency responders who are really having to deal with this tragedy," said Stephen Lopez, the county and city's emergency manager, on Tuesday. "It hits way too close to home. We know what has happened in El Paso... These types of tragedies are just awful for the people who are involved and everybody around them.”