ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The backlash continues over the Rio Grande High School wrestler who won a state championship when he was supposed to be suspended for bullying.
The politicians who helped him get back on the mat are catching serious flak.
According to a criminal complaint, Nicholas Chavez slapped a smaller younger teammate hard in the face in the school cafeteria Thursday.
A deputy says Chavez also shook the student down for $15 in front of other kids.
APS suspended him for three days barring him from the state tournament.
But three elected south valley officials first tried to pressure APS then encouraged him to challenge the suspension in court, where a judge ruled he could wrestle.
Why would a state senator, a county commissioner and especially a school board member help a suspected bully, when bullying has been such a hot topic?
"I have never met either one of the children I have never met their families but bullies is the worst thing that can happen in our public schools, it really is an issue right now, however on the other side of the coin it's important that we treat all students fairly," Senator Michael Padilla said.
"It would be heartbreaking to deny him this lifetime opportunity that could impact for his entire following, his entire life," Commissioner Art De La Cruz said.
School board member Annalee Maestas is the one who really went out of her way to help Chavez.
KRQE News 13 is still waiting for a call back from Maestas.
The Albuquerque Journal ran a full page of comments Wednesday with people lashing out at the politicians who backed Chavez.
Meanwhile, APS plans to challenge the judge's ruling.
Chavez still has a court date to answer charges of larceny and battery.
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