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APS Board Member talks on using the F-word during meeting

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “My word choice is not offensive. What’s offensive is that our community continues to be divided.”

APS board member Elizabeth Armijo. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

That is how Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education member Elizabeth Armijo feels about comments she made that included the F-word.

It’s a word muttered by many at times of passion or frustration, but it was one that elicited gasps from the audience at a Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.

After a long and divided discussion surrounding funding from the National Rifle Association Foundation, Armijo exclaimed she was tired of the opinionated back and forth and advocated for a healthier community discussion.

“I’m f – — sick of it,” she said, the second time in the meeting she had used the expletive.

Mark Abramson, owner of Los Ranchos Gun Shop and an Albuquerque resident, was at the board meeting that night and spoke during the public forum.

While he left right before Armijo’s comments, he said when he learned from other attendees about the cussing, he was disappointed.

“It’s a term kids use, but not a term I would have expected from a board member,” he said Friday.

Abramson said he found it disappointing, particularly because it happened during board comments and the audience wasn’t able to respond to her, though he noted society has become more accepting of profanity.

On Friday, Armijo sent an email to the Journal that said her word choice in a passionate discussion about school safety shouldn’t be the emphasis.

“The problem is the fear our kids feel every day when they go to school worried that they will be shot down in their classrooms,” she wrote.

Armijo said none of her colleagues on the board mentioned her language after the meeting.

Nancy Loisel, a member of the NRA, said the board president should have taken action.

“I was disappointed the president didn’t do anything,” she said, adding she thought it was “very poor behavior out of a board member.”

When reached Friday, board President David Peercy chose not to comment on whether it was appropriate for a board member to use the F-word at a public meeting.

But he did say he has since had a discussion with Armijo and “it is between us.”

“My word choice is not offensive,” Armijo wrote to the Journal. “What’s offensive is that our community continues to be divided by outside special interests, like the NRA, and the national politics of division instead of having a community dialogue around what is best for our communities and our children. Asking about my choice of words and not about what safety measures are in place for our schools misses the point and leaves our kids vulnerable.”

And she said she will continue to have passionate discussions on “protecting the lives of our students.”

“I will continue to work every single day on the real issues impacting our communities and I won’t stop until our kids are safe from gun violence at school,” she wrote.

Albuquerque is no stranger to people in the public eye using the F-word. In fact, a then-Democratic candidate for an open Albuquerque-area congressional seat also used profanity when discussing the NRA.

“F – the NRA” are the first words spoken by City Councilor Pat Davis in a 15-second TV ad.

At the time, he defended the campaign ad and said people are tired of being polite when it comes to gun safety issues.