Family of student killed in STEM shooting talks about charter renewal

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — After weeks of negotiations, STEM School Highlands Ranch parents said they are relieved their children can continue studying at a school they care so much about.

Last week, the Douglas County Board of Education renewed the school's charter for five more years.

The controversy over STEM's charter comes at a time when the community is still hurting from the shooting in May.

Even though Kendrick Castillo's family won't have a child at the school anymore, they say the campus now holds part of their son's legacy.

FOX31 Denver caught up with the Castillo family a few weeks ago at their son's memorial site, a place they use to reflect and remember Kendrick's life. STEM School Highlands Ranch is also a place the family will use to remember their son.

“Just as we come here to grieve and remember our son, I believe STEM is the other location that does that and it’ll do that for Maria and I, but it’ll also do it for who knows how many kids who feel like they need to be back in that environment," said John Castillo, Kendrick's father.

The Douglas County Board of Education had delayed the renewal of the school's charter, citing issues with financial transparency and special education. The shooting in May then sparked questions about school security.

“There’s kids and families that are healing. They want to get back to that school, they want to go there, they want to be part of it," John said. “Whatever issues there are, if there are security issues at all, I’m sure that they can vet that out and figure it out. I don’t think it has anything to do with the charter being renewed.”

The board did end up renewing the charter hours before the old one was set to expire.

“I think STEM being around for a long time just like his robotics team would be important to him and it’s important to me and my wife," John said.

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