Highland principal, counselors on lea...

Highland principal, counselors on leave after senior's suicide

There are 49 comments on the KRQE Albuquerque and New Mexico story from May 15, 2008, titled Highland principal, counselors on leave after senior's suicide. In it, KRQE Albuquerque and New Mexico reports that:

The principal and two counselors at Highland High School have been placed on leave following the suicide of a senior who wasn't allowed to graduate with his class, KRQE News 13 has learned.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at KRQE Albuquerque and New Mexico.

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PFCWS

Meridian, ID

#1 May 15, 2008
God Bless this student. And everyone touched by this tragedy.
Charles

Muscle Shoals, AL

#2 May 15, 2008
It looks Albuquerque Public Schools failed this student, like they have thousands of young people over the years of there existence. Albuquerque Public Schools is the worst public school system in the country. The problem, they have too many over educated PhD’s sucking up all the money that should go to the kids and good teachers. Good teachers leave APS because they are tired of being treated like crap, and being under paid. Albuquerque Public Schools is not about teaching our kids. It is about filling APS administrator pocket with cash. Get the hint? Have any APS administrators ever had a real job. I hated APS when I was a kid, and still do. Get the point? Now some-one has died because of there absolute stupidity, and lack of common sense. Also, I assume APS is proud of the high drop out rate.
Charles
Richard Garcia

Rio Rancho, NM

#3 May 15, 2008
I am infuriated to hear this story. In spite of my constant encouragement, my two nephews have dropped out of school. Considering that this school district has a terrible drop out rate, I would think that they would do everything in their power to encourage kids to finish.

Graduation is a HUGE deal in our society. Graduating with your classmates is a right of passage. If a senior is lacking only a class or two, then they should be permitted to attend the graduation ceremony.

UNM allows students the opportunity to participate in commencement exercises as long as they are lacking six credit hours or less.

I do not advocate the giving of a diploma until the student finishes all required credits, but to deny a student the opportunity to attend commencement exercises is just plain stupid. For a teenager, the opportunity to participate in the ceremony is the culmination of twelve years of social history with his/her peers. To deny them this is moment with their friends is unconscionable if they are lacking a few credits.

Obviously, if a student has done so poorly that they fail classes and fall behind their class, then that is another story. But that cannot be the case if his status was listed as a senior.

I do not know the details of this case but the fact that he was a senior suggests to me that he should be allowed to go through commencement exercises and then complete those credits in the summer before earning his diploma.

APS must change their policy if they are denying kids this opportunity. Think about it people; how would you like it if you did something for twelve years with the same bunch of people and someone denied you the opportunity to be recognized for your effort because you were missing a class or two?
Frank Haley

Albuquerque, NM

#4 May 15, 2008
My wife and I lost our youngest son to suicide at the age of 22, nearly 5 years ago. We know what this family is going through. We are praying for their comfort and peace. May God bless them now and in the days to come. It is so sad, I am so sorry for them.
Lisa

Huntsville, AL

#5 May 15, 2008
Why did they wait until the day before graduation to tell this student he wasn't going to graduate????

Aren't there guidelines APS is supposed to follow?

I'm disgusted with these administrator! Legal action should be taken.

Shame on you!!

My prayers are with the family of this student.
josie

Albuquerque, NM

#6 May 15, 2008
lisa, of course they do NOT tell a student on the day of graduation that they are not going to graduate. Are you a teacher? Probably not! Please don't assume stupidity to a very experienced and well educated teacher who also knew this student and his family. There are many other factors which could have played a role to his decision (which I would NOT reveal).
josie

Albuquerque, NM

#7 May 15, 2008
charles and david (I think that was your name): There are many devoted teachers at HHS and APS. Excuse me, yes, we want students to be academically successful, graduate and be prepared, but should we award passing grades to those who have poor attendance, not making up work? It is up to students (older and mature enough to understand) and these parents to take responsibility for their kids''jobs' and step up to the plate and stop blaming the system (yes, it has it's faults, but there are a lot of wonderful teachers at HHS).
And you don't know the possible outside motives of this particular student (as I may have insite but will not ever reveal).
Of course, graduation is important, but kids have to earn it as well and earn and COMPLETE credits before walking the line (these students and parents are notified if they are failing in advance). If not, what are we modeling (for the greater and real 'world') for them. And don't slam APS or teachers....you don't know we do and deal with until you are in these trenches.....don't judge on blindness.
If you want the the challenge......help yourself....become a educator and see for yourself what that 'real-world' is like.
josie

Albuquerque, NM

#8 May 15, 2008
lisa, I didn't mean to be harsh. There are deadlines and proper paperwork that you follow when a student is failing. And admin is on top of it. Ican't reveal any info on this student but admin and teachers are well on top of it.
josie

Albuquerque, NM

#9 May 15, 2008
until you are an educator.....don't judge.
Willothewisp

Albuquerque, NM

#10 May 15, 2008
josie wrote:
charles and david (I think that was your name): There are many devoted teachers at HHS and APS. Excuse me, yes, we want students to be academically successful, graduate and be prepared, but should we award passing grades to those who have poor attendance, not making up work? It is up to students (older and mature enough to understand) and these parents to take responsibility for their kids''jobs' and step up to the plate and stop blaming the system (yes, it has it's faults, but there are a lot of wonderful teachers at HHS).
And you don't know the possible outside motives of this particular student (as I may have insite but will not ever reveal).
Of course, graduation is important, but kids have to earn it as well and earn and COMPLETE credits before walking the line (these students and parents are notified if they are failing in advance). If not, what are we modeling (for the greater and real 'world') for them. And don't slam APS or teachers....you don't know we do and deal with until you are in these trenches.....don't judge on blindness.
If you want the the challenge......help yourself....become a educator and see for yourself what that 'real-world' is like.
I am glad you have "insite" (sic). As I am also an educator, I can only hope that the individual, not the system, will prevail. There are always reasons one is not privy to...even as to why one gets into the trenches.
Charles

Muscle Shoals, AL

#11 May 15, 2008
First of all, I know there is allot of great Teachers at APS. Also, I have worked in higher Ed for 22 years. I blame APS Administration. The drop out rate is horrible.
Even when these kids graduate with good grades out of APS, they fail in college because APS fails to teach the level of education which is needed in college. I see many kids that come from India that know much better math and English skills. Certainly parents that move here from out of state are instantly disappointed with the level of education that APS provides. My Grand kids are in Rio Rancho, They are getting a great education in the Rio Rancho system. Just out of curiosity, are you one of the overpaid lazy Administrators at APS?
For what ever reason this child ended his life, I have no doubt that if this student had been in a decent school system, this probably would not have happened. I feel for the parents, and will pray for them.
Charles
josie wrote:
charles and david (I think that was your name): There are many devoted teachers at HHS and APS. Excuse me, yes, we want students to be academically successful, graduate and be prepared, but should we award passing grades to those who have poor attendance, not making up work? It is up to students (older and mature enough to understand) and these parents to take responsibility for their kids''jobs' and step up to the plate and stop blaming the system (yes, it has it's faults, but there are a lot of wonderful teachers at HHS).
And you don't know the possible outside motives of this particular student (as I may have insite but will not ever reveal).
Of course, graduation is important, but kids have to earn it as well and earn and COMPLETE credits before walking the line (these students and parents are notified if they are failing in advance). If not, what are we modeling (for the greater and real 'world') for them. And don't slam APS or teachers....you don't know we do and deal with until you are in these trenches.....don't judge on blindness.
If you want the the challenge......help yourself....become a educator and see for yourself what that 'real-world' is like.
josie

Albuquerque, NM

#12 May 15, 2008
BTW Charles, you don't spell or grammicate that well.....think about that before you slam an highly experienced, very educated APS employee.
josie

Albuquerque, NM

#13 May 15, 2008
well, different countries have a different standards and respects for education. It is a culture influenced thing We are the worst (US) and EDU is as it's lowest ebb in my experience with NCLB and IDEA it is a whole new ball game. It doesn't matter how long one has been teaching....there are are idiots in every field.
My point was not judge our admin (as I knew this kid) and pridict other factors involved in his tragic decision. And you are right APS is too top heavy when it comes to admin.
Blackacre

United States

#14 May 15, 2008
josie wrote:
BTW Charles, you don't spell or grammicate that well.....think about that before you slam an highly experienced, very educated APS employee.
Slam AN highly experienced? And grammicate? What is that exactly? You reveal enough about the school system. I am tired of these teachers that cry about their jobs. Between you and me, it's not that difficult. I'm sure the "holidays" you enjoy that none of us are able to are terrible. Three months summer vacation? Sound's pretty nice. You complain about pay yet you work well hard and less often than the majority of the professional work force.

I just can't stand teachers that complain. Your work is not difficult, you get paid for the work you perform. Please stop lying to yourself and the rest of the community.

As far as the graduation, I understand some of the reasons supporting the idea to allow him to "walk" but not graduate. However, this is the first step into the adult world. I know for a fact that these students are identified and notified about their status well in advance of graduation. If they can't get motivated enough to pull C's throughout high school, that will be indicative of the way they will perform in the adult world. Better they find out now.

Stop blaming people. This kid decided to end his life. Who else should decide whether he lives or dies but him? I doubt him not graduating was 1) a surprise 2) enough to make him commit suicide, everything else held constant.

The kid killed himself. Happens all the time. No need to point fingers. How about his parents? Should we hold them responsible? Maybe he just wanted to die people? Not that unlikely.
Sad tragedy

Albuquerque, NM

#15 May 16, 2008
This is horrible. Teresa Cordova could screw the system and get her son to graduate. You'd think with that scandal, which nothing happened to the power abusers, that they'd figure out how to correctly notify parents and students.
merryberry

Albuquerque, NM

#16 May 16, 2008
this student ended his life because HE wanted to...he made that choice...it is a sad one ...God bless the family...i am taking my grandson(i am raising) out of school and he will be home schooled...too much bull in the new mexico schools!!!!!
ABQ Skeptic

Las Cruces, NM

#17 May 16, 2008
Too bad for the families touched by this tragedy but the kid did it to himself. Suicide rates among teenagers are high and this boy is no exception. The current psycho babble is that the kid thought of suicide long before he did it. Not getting his way with the graduation becasue he didn't have the credits might have pushed him over the edge.

Why have standards at all if no one wants to follow them. APS has tons of policies in place that notify parents of how the kid is doing in school. If they aren't aware of the mental state of their own child then that is the problem.
MoreToTheStory

Albuquerque, NM

#18 May 16, 2008
Clearly there is more to this story, but the district simply can't tell all. Of all APS schools, this one has the most dedicated, passionate principal. It is highly unlikely the student didn't have warning, but we'll never know for sure because of the federal laws. We can only imagine what the family must be feeling. Are any of us surprised they are looking for someone to blame? Suicide is by definition, self-inflicted. Painful but true.
ABQ resident also

Albuquerque, NM

#19 May 16, 2008
How sad for the kid and his family.

But give me a break ! This is NOT the school's fault ! You don't find out at the last minute that you're failing 5 classes. One class..a class that a student thinks he may be able to pull it off at the last minute, with a 59.6 % or something, but 5 classes ?

Yes, the district does indeed have strict guidelines about informing parents of potential Senior failures. We teachers are supposed to let parents and counselors know at semester's half, then again with 4 weeks remaining, then again at 2 weeks remaining, then again at 1 week remaining, and finally again during Finals week. I believe that this constant reminding and encouraging has effected change in many Seniors who may otherwise be mired in Senioritis and think that they're invincible (from failing). But failing a class is the STUDENT'S fault, not the SCHOOL'S ! Students EARN their grade, teachers don't GIVE grades.

This is very sad, but also very angering. There seem to be more issues involved. APS is going to get raked over the coals for this one.*sigh*
Cindy

Albuquerque, NM

#20 May 16, 2008
Charles wrote:
It looks Albuquerque Public Schools failed this student, like they have thousands of young people over the years of there existence. Albuquerque Public Schools is the worst public school system in the country. The problem, they have too many over educated PhD’s sucking up all the money that should go to the kids and good teachers. Good teachers leave APS because they are tired of being treated like crap, and being under paid. Albuquerque Public Schools is not about teaching our kids. It is about filling APS administrator pocket with cash. Get the hint? Have any APS administrators ever had a real job. I hated APS when I was a kid, and still do. Get the point? Now some-one has died because of there absolute stupidity, and lack of common sense. Also, I assume APS is proud of the high drop out rate.
Charles
Failing 5 courses and just finding out about it at the last minute? Give me a break. Progress reports are sent home, parents are notified of a student's failing well in advance, grades are posted throughout the year, etc. A student knows on a daily basis what their status is if they're interested. Quit blaming the school system and take responsibility. Obviously there were serious problems going on outside of school. There are plenty of kids who don't get to graduate with their class but they make it up in summer school. That's what my daughter had to do and we didn't try to pull any strings on her behalf. Those are the consequences. Guess what? She's at UNM and doing great because she knows it's up to her. No wonder we have 30 year olds still living at home.

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