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On Fronteras: Missing Students; Immigrant Suicides; The Nation's Best Bilingual Teacher

Relatives and classmates of the missing Mexican students visit San Antonio and ask for support in reopening the investigation.

This Week On Fronteras:

-- The families and classmates of 43 missing Mexican college students traveled across the U.S. to raise awareness for their situation.

-- A movement is underway to prevent suicides by freeing immigrant mothers and their children from detention centers.

-- From New Mexico, here’s some stereotype defying information about gun violence.

-- The best bilingual teacher in the U.S. hails from Dallas.

-- A talk with the directors of the new border documentary, Western.

Families of Missing Mexican Students Tour The U.S. For Support

This week, the families and friends of 43 students from Ayotzinapa’s Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College, who went missing on Sept. 26 last year in Iguala, Mexico, and are presumed murdered, began an awareness tour of the United States. They are hoping to find supporters who will put pressure on the Mexican government to reopen the investigation into what happened to those students.

A coalition of human rights activists is sponsoring both the relatives of those missing, and the students who survived a police confrontation that, it is widely believed, reportedly led to their going missing. But even though Mexican officials have said the students were murdered, relatives told audiences in San Antonio they believe the students may still be alive. Texas Public Radio’s Shelley Kofler has this report.

Suicide Attempts Prompt Petition to Free Detained Immigrants

As Caravan 43 tries to gather support for student families, a petition is circulating through Texas and the United States focused on some other families.

Its goal is to end the detention of immigrant mothers and children who have entered the country unlawfully. As KUT’s Joy Diaz reports, a recent wave of suicide attempts by women in detention in Texas has been a catalyst for the petition.

‘Suicide By Gun’ Rate in New Mexico On The Rise

Most suicides in the United States are committed with guns. That is according to the Centers for Disease Control. And in New Mexico, that statistic is even higher. There, gun-related suicides also account for most firearm deaths.

The country’s surgeon general says gun violence is a public health issue. In the last 10 years, there have been more than 300,000 civilian gun deaths in the country, a figure comparable to the number of military casualties in the nation’s biggest wars.

Fronteras reporter Marisa Demarco of KUNM has more from Albuquerque on the connection with guns.

Texas Open Carry and Campus Carry Gun Bills Advance

Now an update on last week’s stories about gun legislation in Texas: The Republican majority in the state Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill that would allow concealed handgun license holders to openly display their guns in holsters. State Senators also passed another gun rights bill, often referred to as campus carry, that has drawn criticism from numerous college campuses. It would allow college students to pack guns along with iPads in their backpacks. Both gun bills are now headed to the Texas House. Texas Public Radio’s Ryan Poppe has the stories. 

The Country’s Best Bilingual Teacher Challenges Students

Teaching one language to children can be challenging.  So imagine teaching two languages to students with various levels of comprehension.  One Dallas educator won a top honor this month for doing just that.

Irma De La Guardia is the national bilingual teacher of the year. She presides over a third grade at Withers Elementary school and received the award in Las Vegas from the National Association for Bilingual Education. KERA’s Dianna Douglas visited De La Guardia’s colorful classroom to see her award winning skills in action.

Intriguing Border Documentary Honored at Film Festival

A new documentary about the twin border towns of Eagle Pass, Texas, and Piedras Negras, Mexico, has won the Louis Black ‘Lone Star’ Award at South By Southwest. The award honors the best Texas-themed film shown at the festival. Texas Public Radio’s Nathan Cone sat down with the makers of the film, Western, brothers Bill and Turner Ross.