For the past several weeks, people all over the country have flocked to online meeting platforms in an attempt to stay connected with both friends and coworkers amid the global COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in a number of mandatory shelter in place orders.
But as more people use virtual meeting platforms like Google or Zoom, there are reports of increased malicious activity, which is now known to some as “Zoom-bombing.” Meetings around the country have reportedly been interrupted with unknown users who use racist language or share pornographic material.
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission experienced its first “Zoom bomb” on Wednesday when, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, an unknown individual used offensive language before a loud mix of talking and noises led to an abrupt end to the meeting.
Laura Gutierrez has been trying to get public records from Albuquerque Public Schools for more than a year. In 2014 a school law enforcement officer allegedly used force against her autistic son. APS opened an investigation and soon cleared the officer of any wrongdoing. Gutierrez wants to see all the documents from this investigation. In the fall and winter of 2015, Gutierrez filed four public records requests with APS for the district’s internal investigation of the officer, an employee of the school district.
On Monday a group of teachers and activists gathered outside the Roundhouse to speak out against what they said were problems with New Mexico’s Public Education Department. Among teachers, concerned parents and local union leaders was Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. She told New Mexico Political Report that she came to New Mexico to participate in Moral Monday, organized by the New Mexico Federation of Labor. New Mexico Political Report also asked her why AFT filed a lawsuit against the PED and how she sees New Mexico compared to other states, in terms of education.
New Mexico’s Legislative session starts in about four days and state lawmakers are still busy prefiling legislation. New Mexico Political Report previously looked at early bills regarding driver’s licenses, minimum wage and right to work legislation. Since then, duplicate bills were filed regarding some of those issues. Here’s a look at what has been filed in January so far. Schools Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, filed a joint resolution this month that aims to limit class sizes by the 2022-2023 school year.
Education is a topic that comes up every legislative session in New Mexico and draws out long and often heated discussions. This year, many of the bills that were unsuccessfully introduced by Republicans may have a chance of passing through the new House majority. In previous years, Democrats were opposed to Republican initiatives like student testing and third-grade retention. This session seems to be headed in the same direction. This is the third year that Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, has introduced legislation aimed at holding students back if they are not proficient in reading by the third grade.