ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The superintendent of the state’s largest school district says violence and bad behavior are on the rise in schools. Now Albuquerque Public Schools are sharing this warning with parents: Keep an eye on your kids.
APS Superintendent Scott Elder says that while they’re not sure why the kids are suddenly taking more action, they have their ideas and need the community’s help to stop them. This comes after more than a year of virtual and blended learning since the start of the pandemic.
“I think it’s probably related to the fact that for a lot of these kids, for example our freshmen, the last time they had a full year of school, they were in 7th grade,” he said. said Elder. “They lost a lot of time socializing, they lost a lot of time to adapt. Many of these students have received specialized services from us which may have been more difficult during the pandemic. “
District says ‘extreme behavior’ is on the rise – from brawls to shootings like the one that killed a Washington Middle School student the first week of the school year, and even vandalism, fueled by a new media trend social. That’s part of the reason Superintendent Elder sent out a letter on Thursday, speaking directly to parents and guardians in the district.
“I don’t think parents are really aware of this,” Elder said. “The letter was sent to help parents find out what is going on so that they can have conversations with their children.”
While the district isn’t exactly sure why this is happening, they believe coming back in person is emotional for the students – and they release that emotion in both positive and negative ways. Elder says this reflects behaviors seen across the country during the pandemic.
“Our city is struggling with problems, the schools are a reflection of the community,” Elder said. “Our students see the same thing we see in the news and they reflect it.”
Elder, who has served in the district as a teacher for years, says staff monitor student behavior and conduct welfare checks. However, they still need the help of those at home who see the children outside the classroom.
“I also think we should encourage our students and teach them how to better manage conflict and respond to concerns. The school and the staff are there to support and work with these children, ”Elder said. “We don’t want to punish children. We want to work with them and educate them, but we have to have a safe environment to do it, so some of our kids choose to make it a little less safe and it has to stop. “
Despite a rocky start to the first school year to begin in person since 2019, Elder believes students and schools will pull through in time, but says school safety is a shared responsibility. APS says that, like many law enforcement agencies in the region, they are also short of workers – 11 officers and 18 campus security assistants. Elder encourages students and employees to report any possible threats to Crime Stoppers, where they can remain anonymous.