LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – Some high school parents are complaining after claims that a student has been playing pretend-cop at their kid’s school.
On Wednesday, parents say the student looked pretty convincing and what happened even seems to have caught the school off-guard.
Parents pulled up in front of Los Lunas High School on Wednesday to find a student who they say was wearing Los Lunas Police Department patches and carrying a radio. Parents told KRQE News 13 that the student looked like he was working school security, but the district says that’s not the case.
“Kind of weird, never thought you’d see a student as police officer,” said Jasen Cordova, a student at Los Lunas High School.
The “student police officer” was the word among many students on the Los Lunas High School campus Wednesday morning. Parents spotted the student in question wearing a black hat and shirt with Los Lunas Police Department patches on them. The student was also said to be carrying a school-issued radio or walky-talky.
Parents told KRQE News 13 that the student was helping run traffic and security in front of the main doors. Students say they know the kid as one of their classmates.
“He goes around school,” said Terrell Begay, a Los Lunas High student.
“(He carries a) …radio sometimes,” said Jasen Cordova.
“Yes, he has patches that says police around his shoulders,” said Begay.
On Facebook, concerned parents accused the school of allowing it. One parent claimed that the school named the student in question an “honorary school resource officer,” and assigned the student to “patrol the halls” to stop senior pranks.
Another concerned parent wrote, “isn’t this considered impersonating a police officer?”
“I don’t think they really care, they’re pretty much fine with it,” said student Jasen Cordova.
However, school security officers say the story that parents and students have is bogus.
“We would never incorporate the help of a student in that type of a role or that type of a capacity,” said Desi Garcia, director of security for Los Lunas Schools.
Garcia runs security for Los Lunas High and many other schools in the district. Garcia says students have never been a part of their day-to-day security operations, or monitoring for senior pranks.
“We would never jeopardize a student by putting him in that kind of a situation,” said Garcia.
Garcia says the student in question is part of the Los Lunas Police Department’s “Youth Explorers” program, which teaches teens about policing.
Los Lunas Police Chief Naithan Gurule confirmed the student’s membership today, but says the teen should not have been wearing his shirt with “Youth Explorers” patches at school, or outside of the program.
“We don’t want anybody to get the perception that they’re something they’re not,” said Chief Gurule.
The school says the student was working on his own, and says it won’t happen again.
Los Lunas Public Schools security also told KRQE News 13 Wednesday that the student got the radio by lying to office staff and saying that a teacher needed it.
The district says the student has been punished, but it won’t say how. Students told KRQE News 13 Thursday that they think the student in question wore the shirt and acted the way he did because he likes police work.