ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools student-athletes are desperate to get back in the game. Sunday, they held a peaceful protest in response to their seasons being canceled due to the district board’s decision to stick with online learning. Athletes say the school board isn’t listening and this was their opportunity to be heard.
From cheers in the stands to a protest in a parking lot. APS students-athletes who would typically face off in competition, rallied together at district headquarters, protesting the school board’s decision to continue with online learning. “Rivalries mean a lot on the court or on the field but right now, we just want to do what we love to do,” says senior Joseph Leybe.
However, right now, they can’t. Under the PED’s current rules, high school athletics can only happen if a school is in a hybrid learning system. “I think our state is trying to be cautious and they have been but now it’s a time to step out,” says parent Clarence Gibson.
Student-athletes say they feel like their voices aren’t being heard, so they left a clear message for the APS school board. “We have put in a lot of preparation for this year and we have just been led to disappointment so hopefully, a change will happen,” says senior Sidney McIntosh.
Senior athletes are especially frustrated. They say potential scholarships are on the line. “It’s really difficult not have senior film especially because I was hurt my junior year it’s just really hard on a lot of us and it’s really hard to get scholarships,” says senior Nicholas Petty.
Protesters are calling for the board to change its decision. Or for state officials to decouple the rule but athletics and the hybrid model. School board president, Dr. David Peercy, says the board supports the decoupling of athletics from the hybrid model.
Also, this weekend the La Cueva High School football program put out a video talking about the struggles of online learning and how eager they are to return to the field. APS did put out a statement Sunday in response to the protest, saying they are sorry for all the losses the pandemic has caused. They add they want to see students in classrooms, on sports fields, and with their friends.