SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – There is a deadly problem inside a New Mexico high school. Administrators said they are having a hard time solving it.
“If there’s bad behavior, and there’s no consequences for it, the bad behavior’s going to continue,” said Socorro Consolidated Schools Superintendent Ron Hendrix.
Fentanyl has found its way inside Socorro High School.
“Three weeks ago, we had some fentanyl. Two weeks ago, we had some fentanyl. Then last week, we had a student with just a backpack full of drugs,” said Superintendent Hendrix.
The superintendent is frustrated, saying there needs to be stiffer penalties. He said students are arrested and released soon after. School administrators explained this is because there is no place to take the youth.
“We work diligently to get the juvenile placed into a juvenile facility, but unfortunately, there are no facilities right now that are willing to take our kids,” said Socorro County Sheriff William Armijo.
In the past year alone, fentanyl has killed 2 students in the district. Administrators are worried about other kids and hope the state can increase space at juvenile facilities.
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“For every administration team, for every child, for every parent. This is a plea that we need to step up and take this serious right now,” said President of Board of Education at Socorro Consolidated Schools Dave Hicks.
They want more support for authorities to address these issues. This includes harsher penalties for adults who sell to minors.
“We’re not seeing a whole lot of success; we’re having to release them back to the parents,” said Sheriff Armijo.
In the meantime, the sheriff’s office gives speeches at the school to show the consequences of drug use. The district said they need more funding for prevention programs.
“My biggest fear is to have to look one of my friends and one of my community members in this town in the eye and say that, ‘we didn’t do enough about it, and I’m sorry your child is dead,'” said Hicks.
The Public Education Department helps school districts with prevention programs through the Department of Health. The health department also provides school districts with training on the use of Narcan, which can reverse an overdose.
Albuquerque Public Schools said they have not seen a rise in fentanyl cases across their district. Rio Rancho Public Schools said they’ve seen few cases recently but continue to monitor their schools.