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Superintendent's News

Posted: February 25, 2022

Message on Tragic Shooting Near West Mesa

From APS Superintendent Scott Elder and the Board of Education

The senseless death of yet another one of our students has the Albuquerque Public Schools community reeling in dismay. The shooting occurred in a lot across the street from West Mesa High School Friday morning while students were in class. The school quickly took steps to assure the safety of students and staff, sheltering in place and then releasing students to their families. The isolated incident occurred off-campus, and no one else was physically harmed.

But a lot of us are hurting.

Police believe the shooter was a juvenile, another young person with a gun. As a community, we have to ask why it is so easy for young people – for children, really – to get their hands on deadly weapons. And what can we do as a community to prevent more tragic deaths like this one from happening?

As Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said in a joint news conference after the shooting, this incident doesn’t just affect West Mesa students, staff, and families, just as the shooting death of a 13-year-old at Washington Middle School earlier this school year wasn’t isolated to that community. Every school student who has to go through active shooter training – in other words, every one of our students – lives in fear of a gun on campus. Parents of these children dread receiving an unimaginable phone call or visit from the police.

Our schools are filled with people who really love our kids and are doing the best they can to watch out for them. And we have protocols in place to keep them safe, from site safety plans, police officers and security guards on campus, safety training, and open lines of communication.

But we can’t do this alone. We all have a role to play in ensuring our schools remain safe places for learning. Please talk to your children about gun safety. Remind them that they should tell an adult if they hear about the possibility of a gun at or near school or if they know about a student who has a weapon. We repeat it all the time, but saying something when you see something truly makes a difference. It has helped prevent potential problems in the past, and it will help in the future.

Our hearts go out to everyone grieving and anyone shaken by this horrible incident. We will continue to make safety a priority at all of our schools. We appreciate everyone’s support in this effort.