Santa Fe Public School leaders, students address youth violence

New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Three Santa Fe teenagers killed within the last three months. Monday, school district leaders and students got together to say the violence has to stop.

Over the weekend, Santa Fe High School basketball star and future University of New Mexico Lobo J.B. White was shot and killed. For the first time, we heard from students from several Santa Fe high schools, all calling for the end to gun violence.

“It breaks my heart- the idea of people’s lives being taken away just as it was about to begin. These people– they’re great individuals. I know they would’ve done great, you know good things for the community,” said a senior at Santa Fe High School, Faris Wald.

Early Saturday morning, Santa Fe deputies say White got into a fight with 16-year-old Estevan Montoya. They say Montoya shot and killed White. This marks the third teenage homicide in the Santa Fe area this summer. In early June, 17-year-old Aiko Perez was stabbed to death by a friend who told police he was on acid at the time. In mid-July, Capital High School student Ivan Perez was shot and killed.

“We’ve been focusing on the pandemic that is COVID-19 but let’s remember we have another epidemic that is an epidemic of violence,” said SFPS Board of Education President Kate Noble. Monday, district leaders, several principals, and high school students went over the resources that are already available to help students who are at-risk.

“One of the projects that we’ve been working on is that we realized students more often talk to their peers than an authority figure so we’ve created a small group, through our WAVE group, so we can try to encourage the students to come to us so we can help them find the resources that they need,” said a senior at Santa Fe High School, Samantha Quintana.

Of course, this string of latest violence all happened off-campus and outside the classroom. The district also laid out a full list of places in the Santa Fe community that are open and ready to help.

Superintendent Veronica Garcia highlighted an anonymous reporting app and student-led groups while calling on parents to pay attention. “I say to our parents- be mindful of house parties. Let’s not forget there is a current pandemic but apart from that be cognizant of students’ access to guns. Talk to your children,” Garcia said. Garcia also saying all of these deaths were preventable and they need to all come together as a community.

Below is the full SFPS press conference

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