Sandoval Signpost

 

An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Public Safety
 

Knife lands middle-school teacher in trouble

—Signpost Staff

A Bernalillo Middle School teacher has resigned after being accused of waving a knife at students during a pop quiz.

Math teacher Benjamin Nagurski, about 63, was arrested at the school on November 14 and charged with assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a deadly weapon on school premises. Both charges are fourth-degree felonies.

Nagurski spent the weekend in jail and was released the next Monday on a ten thousand dollar bond, after appearing before Magistrate Judge Delilah Montaño-Baca. At last report, he had not been arraigned on the charges or entered a plea.

The Signpost contacted the office of Nagurski’s attorney seeking comment on the allegations but has yet to hear back.

Court records describe the incident as happening about 8:30 a.m. during a math quiz. At the time Nagurski was using the knife, described as having a wooden handle and sharp tip, to remove staples from a bulletin board.

In a statement supporting the charge, the arresting officer, Bernalillo Patrolman Rhonda Guzman, alleges that when several students began talking during the quiz, Nagurski turned toward them and waved the knife while telling them to be quiet. One student, who said he was not talking during the quiz, told the officer he felt scared when Nagurski pointed the knife at him and another student.

At the end of class, one of the students confronted Nagurski about the knife and quoted the teacher as responding, “Maybe next time I’ll pull out a machete.” Guzman reported Nagurski said he made the comment in jest and had apologized to the class for waving the knife.

He also said he was standing no closer to the students than four or five feet with the knife in hand, the officer reported.

“Bernalillo Public Schools acted quickly and appropriately,” Bernalillo Police Chief Tom Romero said. “It’s an unfortunate situation, and it’s an isolated situation. At the end of the day, it’s about protecting the students.”

Guzman is certified as a school resource officer although another Bernalillo officer works full time as an SRO mostly at Bernalillo High School under contract with the school district, the chief added.


Town of Bernalillo to put an end to texting while driving

New Mexico outlawed texting while driving earlier this year, but it’s about to be especially illegal in Bernalillo.

With the town council amending its traffic ordinance recently, Bernalillo police officers now can cite offenders into town court. There the town receives a portion of the fines and fees collected.

In the past, texters would find themselves either in magistrate court or simply sending their fines to the state. “It’s not that it’s a wide-spread problem, but it is occurring,” Bernalillo Police Chief Tom Romero said. “Our first thought was that we’ll get people educated on it, and then at some point, if it’s appropriate, the officer will cite them for it.”

That point is December 10, although the ordinance has been in force since November 2, and the statewide ban since July 1. Until then, officers are only warning drivers, unless some other circumstance warrants the citation, Romero said.

Notice of the change was included in the town’s December newsletter. Fines start at $25 dollars and rise to fifty dollars for subsequent offenses.


Energy drinks and young kids don’t mix

—Dr. Steven Seifert, NM Poison Center Director

More than seventy percent of 5,156 calls about energy drinks to U.S. poison control centers involved children, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014. Exposures to children less than six years old were proportional to the overall database, suggesting accidental exposure. However, children between six and 19 appear to be intentionally seeking out and consuming these products, with some suffering serious cardiac and neurological symptoms.

Researchers analyzed October 2010-September 2013 records of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System, which contains information calls about energy exposures from the public and healthcare providers to 55 U.S. poison control centers. Researchers found:

• Of the five-thousand-plus reported cases of energy drink exposure, forty percent were unintentional (i.e. unforeseen or unplanned) exposures by young children.

• Moderate to major outcomes were reported in 19 percent of non-alcohol-containing energy drinks and in 42 percent of cases involving energy drinks that had been mixed with alcohol. These products were banned by the FDA in December of 2010.

• Among cases across all age groups with major outcomes, cardiovascular effects (abnormal heart rhythm and conduction abnormalities) were reported in 57 percent of cases, and neurologic effects (seizures, including status epilepticus) in 55 percent.

Energy drinks might contain pharmaceutical-grade caffeine and additional caffeine from natural sources that might cause the heart to race and blood pressure to increase. Energy drinks with multiple caffeine sources were tied to a higher rate of side effects, typically involving the nervous, digestive, or cardiovascular systems. Some energy drinks contain up to four hundred milligrams (mg) of caffeine per can or bottle, compared to one hundred to 150 mg in a typical cup of coffee. Caffeine poisoning can occur at levels higher than four hundred mg a day in adults; above one hundred mg a day in adolescents; and at 2.5 mg per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight in children younger than 12.

 
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