One year later, Aztec on road to recovery from shooting - Albuquerque Journal

One year later, Aztec on road to recovery from shooting

FARMINGTON – Mental health professionals are sharing coping strategies as Aztec Municipal School District employees are taking steps to help survivors and those affected by the Aztec High School shooting on the first anniversary of the traumatic event.

Today marks one year since the shooting, during which 17-year-old students Francisco “Paco” Fernandez and Casey Marquez were killed before the gunman shot and killed himself as law enforcement officials responded to the scene.

Psychologists and therapists urged anyone affected by the incident to find someone they trust to speak to about their feelings.

Joel Dvoskin, a psychologist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said the most important thing to remember is everyone processes trauma differently and could experience grief months or years later.

Dvoskin said students should reach out and speak to a parent, a member of their place of worship or faith, or a counselor/therapist about how they are coping with their feelings.

“Everyone is different. Respecting those differences is really important,” Dvoskin said.

Local therapists spoke to The Daily Times on Nov. 28 about their response to the shooting and coping strategies for community members.

Rick Quevedo, CEO of Desert View Family Counseling, said his office saw an increase in clients following the shooting and leading to the start of the school year this fall.

“We saw any number of people from students to parents and even some of the staff members,” said McKenzie Dunlap, a therapist at Cottonwood Clinical Services. “We were able to help them with a lot of their difficulties.”

Quevedo suggested people avoid things that could trigger an emotional reaction, including avoiding social media and reading news stories about similar incidents that have occurred nationwide.

“I think it’s important to validate the kids’ feelings because there is not right or wrong way to feel,” said Ja’ Nece Avery, truancy court coordinator at Desert View Family Counseling.

The therapists spoke about how it’s OK for secondary victims, who may not have been involved in the shooting, to feel affected by it.

Aztec High School staff members have been engaging with students since early September on how they plan to handle the school day today, according to Principal Warman Hall.

The day is set to start in the auxiliary gym as students eat breakfast, work on group art projects and talk with first responders who responded to the scene. “The kids were really keen on doing something that is focused on life and coming together to support one another,” Hall said.

Following the morning event, students will have regular classes with shortened periods.

The staff plans to be very accommodating of students if they feel the need to be checked out from school, and parents can join students in the auxiliary gym in the morning, Hall said.

Safe space lounges will be set up all over campus if students start to feel overwhelmed during the day. Therapists/counselors will on hand to speak to students, and therapy dogs will be stationed to help comfort students or staff members.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
New Mexico credit union ceases overdraft fees
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's oldest credit union will ... New Mexico's oldest credit union will no longer charge overdraft fees to members.
2
Visit Albuquerque leader: Business travel recovery could take years
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque saw its fair share of ... Albuquerque saw its fair share of leisure travelers over the summer, but business travel to the city ...
3
Regents, city council give approval for south campus TIDD
ABQnews Seeker
The University of New Mexico moved ... The University of New Mexico moved a step closer to launching a massive development project on its south campus, which school officials envision will ...
4
Pecos River faces water shortages
ABQnews Seeker
Farmers growing alfalfa, corn and cotton ... Farmers growing alfalfa, corn and cotton in the arid Pecos River Basin of eastern New Mexico do so in a region known for extreme ...
5
NM preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccine for younger ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico is preparing to start ... New Mexico is preparing to start giving COVID-19 vaccine shots to children between ages 5 to 11, with the state set to receive 24,600 ...
6
In Pictures: Scenic Views, Vintage Train
ABQnews Seeker
Tourists from all over the country ... Tourists from all over the country come to the small towns of Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado, to ride the 140-year-old narrow gauge ...
7
UNM regents give up power over purchasing
ABQnews Seeker
Administration given the power to make ... Administration given the power to make decisions
8
Televised mayoral debate gets personal
ABQnews Seeker
Gonzales accuses Keller of 'serious misconduct,' ... Gonzales accuses Keller of 'serious misconduct,' mayor denies allegations
9
ABQ stadium bond question is botched
ABQnews Seeker
Ballot correctly describes gross receipts tax ... Ballot correctly describes gross receipts tax issue, then mislabels it as GO bond