ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public School students and coaches are desperate to get back on the field, and now, they are ready to sue the state, asking them to split hybrid learning and athletics.

Steven Archibeque is the head volleyball coach at La Cueva High School. He’s also heading an effort to sue the New Mexico Public Education Department in federal court to allow student-athletes to play again. He says at least five students, including at least one from La Cueva, will be part of the suit. “We have litigants from La Cueva, we have litigants from Eldorado, we have litigants from Volcano Vista, we have litigants from Cibola. We have reached out to Los Lunas to see if there would be interest in joining forces with us,” said Archibeque.

This comes after the APS school board voted to continue remote learning for the rest of the school year. That means the district will be barred from participating in New Mexico Activities Association activities including athletics. Archibeque hopes the lawsuit will be filed by Thursday. The coach is also hoping the NMPED responds quickly and allows his athletes to begin practicing and playing.

“We want to start where everyone else is even though it’s going to be a truncated season, we’re not only fighting for fall sports we’re fighting for winter sports and the spring sports,” Archibeque said.

In the meantime, a GoFundMe page has been started with hopes of raising money to help pay for legal fees. “It is unfortunate that it has to come to this. As an attorney myself, you basically represent people at their worst, and this is.. we’re at our worst as you’re keeping the kids on the sideline,” said Archibeque.

The GoFundMe has so far raised nearly $1,800 of their $30,000 goal. KRQE News 13 reached out to the NMPED for comment Monday night and they issued the following statement:

We do not comment on threatened or pending litigation.”

New Mexico Public Education Department