DENVER (KDVR) — During a public session Thursday, the Board of Education said Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero is allowed to provide as many as two Denver Police Department officers on high school campuses and two mental health professionals as needed.
The board said the executive limitation policy that was approved in 2020, which said “the Superintendent will not staff schools with school resource officers or the consistent presence of security armed with guns or any other law enforcement personnel,” will be suspended through June 30.
Marrero is to report to the board on tickets and issues reported by DPD officers stationed on school campuses on a monthly basis, the board said.
The session was scheduled after a shooting that injured two faculty members. The two deans were shot while searching a student who attended the school.
After a private executive session of the meeting, the DPS website announced that classes are canceled for the entire district Friday, March 24, citing it as a non-student contact mental health day for all DPS students and employees.
Marrero had announced late Wednesday that at least one armed police officer was to be posted on all high school campuses and said he would deal with the repercussions that came with the decision.
Board’s decision on police collaboration with schools
In a news conference following the board meeting, President Xóchitl Gaytán said there has been a “societal failure” in the city and nationwide with the violence and death happening in schools.
One immediate solution is long-term security and safety plan meetings that will be held regularly and will be open to the community from now through the end of June to continue the discussion about the safety in the district’s schools, Gaytán said at the conference.
Gaytán said she made it very clear what the board’s safety vision is, was from when she started up until now. “We have not flip-flopped,” she said.
She said the board is getting more community engagement, which it did in 2020, and is once again doing so in order to hear from them again.
Marrero said the district was not aware of the student involved in Wednesday’s shooting, Austin Lyle’s history but East High knew and implemented the safety plan for him.
An armed officer would not have patted down Lyle, the officer has to have probable cause. Administrators are allowed with the consent of the student and their family under the caretaker exemption, according to Marrero.
Marrero said the new addendum allowing officers back on DPS high school campuses was in direct response to the community’s concern for safety following Wednesday’s double shooting at East High.