DENVER (KDVR) — The COVID-19 pandemic had one silver lining: fewer students had run-ins with police.
Schools across the nation and the state of Colorado had an unprecedented wrench thrown into learning when most chose to move to remote learning setups. The situation resulted in teacher burnout, student mental health issues, learning loss and parents pulling students from local districts altogether.
On the plus side, fewer students attending in-person classes meant fewer opportunities to get into trouble. Far fewer students got into trouble with law enforcement during the 2020-21 year than any year on record, according to the most recent release from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.
The division investigated all interactions between Colorado public school students and local law enforcement agencies. In the heavily remote 2020-21 academic year, there were 1,023.
This is a small fraction of the typical level of interactions between students and police. Between 2014 and 2019, there were an average of 6,500 a year. Information for the 2019-20 year is not available.
As with most years, students come into contact with law enforcement for marijuana more than anything else, despite reportedly declining marijuana use among Colorado teens.
There were 169 marijuana offenses last in the 2020-21 academic year, about 16% of the total number of offenses. On any given academic year, about one-fourth of the student body’s charges are over marijuana.
Violence in schools is the second most common charge. There were 150 assault offenses, or about 15% of the total. Assault is the second most common reason for police involvement in any given year, but typically there are five to seven times as many as there were in 2020-21.