SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Student-athletes and families across New Mexico protested at the state capitol Saturday, urging the state to allow them to play sports and participate in extracurricular activities even if their district is doing remote learning. Organizers said Saturday’s protest comes after they believed the state ignored their requests during their peaceful protest in Albuquerque last Saturday on the same topic.

Athletes and their families from different schools met at the Roundhouse Saturday afternoon where many took to the mic to plead their case to change the Public Education Department’s rule that only allows sports and extracurricular activities to take place if the district is doing a hybrid model of learning.

After a handful of speeches from students and parents, they marched less than a mile away to the PED building. Students KRQE spoke with said it’s been a tough year, and the lack of sports has made it that much more difficult. 

“It’s been really hard on everyone,” said Gwen Graham, a student-athlete from La Cueva High School. “Everyone is doing as much as they can. To get sports going, stay healthy, but it’s not been good for anyone.”

As the group was marching, state police escorted the crowd, even blocking off a couple of streets. The protest remained peaceful and finished back at the Roundhouse with protesters leaving their signs for state officials to see. 

KRQE has not heard back from the PED about Saturday’s protest. A spokesperson with the governor’s office sent KRQE an emailed response, saying in part, “The state’s priority remains safely expanding in-person learning opportunities for New Mexico students. School districts and charters have all the tools they need to make that decision and safely re-engage in a productive hybrid in-person model for the benefit of students.”