ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Parents are concerned after a string of reported suicides at Albuquerque Public Schools. School officials met with parents on Wednesday night as family and friends of one teen who recently died gathered to remember her.
There wasn’t a dry eye as dozens gathered outside Manzano High School to honor the life of a senior, Hannah Ulibarri. “She was my baby,” Kathy Ulibarri, Hannah’s stepmother said. “I loved her dearly. She had a million friends, and this came as a total shock.”
Her stepmother said the bowling team member, honor student, and student senate treasurer was loved by many. “I think that is what is so devastating about it to know that she could not take care of herself,” her stepmother said.
Hannah is now reportedly the second Manzano student to die by suicide in one week. “After the first suicide at the school, we talked to Hannah about the death and how she was feeling,” her stepmother said. “It was clear, she was very impacted.”
Manzano isn’t the only school facing tragedy. Parents said at Sandia High School, there was reportedly a suicide last month. There have been a few reported at other schools in the district as well this school year.
However, APS would not confirm those numbers with us. They told KRQE News 13 there is no reason to track student suicides, as it is unrelated to instruction at school.
People we spoke with at the vigil disagree. “It definitely translates at school,” Hannah’s best friend, Jade Llamas said. “At school, it does not feel the same after things like this happen. It is bad.”
While there was a meeting at the school Wednesday night to help the community cope with recent losses, some families would like to see more done to prevent losing another life. “I do hope APS will put together a plan to be more proactive in helping students so we can end this epidemic,” Hannah’s stepmom said.
Some students told KRQE News 13 they would like to see mental health worked into the curriculum at APS. The district said they provide resources for all students such as counseling services.
Hannah’s family has put together an endowment fund to raise money for crisis intervention and development for educators.