DENVER (KDVR) — A national nonprofit, formed in response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, has launched an independent investigation into a shooting outside East High School in Denver.
The Uvalde Foundation For Kids is a national organization dedicated to ending school violence.
A 16-year-old student was shot in his car on Monday, Feb. 13, sparking concern and calls for action.
As of Friday, the national director of Uvalde Foundation For Kids, Daniel Chapin, said the group had received 64 calls and emails from concerned parents, students and community members.
“We got an email saying that ‘there’s been more off days due to school violence or lockdowns at my school than there has been vacation days,’ and that was from a student,” Chapin said. “That’s why we’re involved.”
Uvalde Foundation for Kids focused on school improvement
Chapin said the foundation works with students, parents and teachers willing to collaborate to look at what’s happening and how to move forward.
“Violence in this nation is being looked at all in the wrong way. We’re looking at it in a singular mode,” Chapin said. “We’re looking at it in the terms of actions, in terms of reaction, instead of in terms of prevention and changing the culture of violence.”
In launching this independent investigation, the foundation is working to help the school identify areas of weakness and offer solutions.
“The ultimate goal isn’t to crucify a school. It’s to look at how we can solidify and secure a school even stronger,” Chapin said.
Ellie McGoldrick, a student at East High School, said the recent events have taken a toll on the student population.
“This is the first time I’ve really ever been scared to go to school,” McGoldrick said. “It just doesn’t feel safe anymore. I feel like my safety is in danger, and I don’t trust that me or someone I care about won’t get harmed.”
McGoldrick is not alone. Many students and parents addressed the city council this week asking members to do something about school violence.
“I’ve definitely been struggling,” McGoldrick said. “Some days I’ve stayed home from school, and when I’ve gone to school I’ve been super distracted, super hard to focus, having a very hard time learning, and that’s not just me.”
Nonprofit to present findings to East High
After 12 weeks, Chapin said the foundation presents its findings with solutions to the school, the school board and the state Board of Education and continues to follow up.
“We are collaborating back and forth on a continuous basis,” Chapin said. “Problems will happen. This is a culture of violence that is spreading throughout this nation and so schools are being put on their heels, so we’re here to buff that out and make it work.”
The Foundation also opened a 24-hour antiviolence support line available for students at 888-685-8464.
Chapin said they have not heard back from the school about collaboration, but regardless, the foundation will continue with its own independent investigation.
FOX31 did reach out to Denver Public Schools and received the following response:
“Denver Public Schools is still committed to the healing of our East High School community and the full support of the ongoing police investigation regarding recent incidents of city violence near our campuses. We continue to assist as needed in the investigation by local law enforcement. At this time, Denver Public Schools and East High School are not in a partnership with the Uvalde Foundation, but we support them in their endeavors to protect young people and schools everywhere.”