LORDSBURG, N.M. (KRQE) – The fight to get student-athletes back in school and back in sports continues in New Mexico. While the Public Education Department is letting Albuquerque Public School high schoolers play, there are still many districts out there not allowed and some wonder why.
Lordsburg students said they’ve been athletes since they were little and they’re desperate to be back in class and back in sports. “So not being able to play and strictly doing just school and not having really a motive is really hard,” said Lordsburg student Brooklyn Romero.
“We just want to play,” said Lordsburg student Madison Miller. “We want to play sports, we want to be able to go to school, at least get some portion of our senior year back. We don’t want to continue like this. We want to change, we want something different that will be better for us and for everyone else.”
The students said in Lordsburg, their lives revolve around sports and they feel it’s been ripped away from them this past year because they’ve been doing remote learning. The PED tied the return to sports with the hybrid learning models. If schools ‘opted out’ of hybrid learning, they aren’t able to let their students play sports. However, the state agreed for high schoolers at APS to play sports, just as long as they do in-person small group learning.
The superintendent says Lordsburg schools have been doing small group in-person learning since last month. The superintendent said they were under the impression that would not suffice for participation in athletics. They’re now looking at their options, which could be a relief to students who said this has hit them all hard.
“I know friends who went from last year being okay doing sports and having good grades to going to therapy and being on anti-depressants because they can’t take it anymore,” said Lordsburg student Dominick Graham. “And I feel like that’s a huge problem the school board definitely didn’t want to address. That’s how bad it’s affecting people personally in their mental health.”
As of Monday, the majority of school districts are listed in the hybrid learning model. About 20 districts are still listed as remote learning.
Las Vegas schools said a plan has been submitted for their high school to return to small in-person learning, but add that their school board voted to keep all grades working remotely for the rest of the year. The PED and New Mexico Activities Association said it’s a quickly evolving situation.