DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Police Foundation says a safety video shown to students at a high school about racial attacks includes one “reprehensible” tip.
South High School recently held an assembly in which a video called “Don’t be a Bystander: 6 Tips for Responding to Racist Attacks” was shown. The fourth tip was called “Avoid the Police” and outlined that bystanders should not call 911 unless the victim asks them to.
“Armed police presence often escalates rather than reduces the use of violence in a situation,” a speaker in the video says. “Because police have been trained to see people of color, gender non-conforming folks and Muslims as criminals, they often treat victims as perpetrators of violence.”
Other tips in the video include:
- Be More Than a Bystander, which outlines how to talk to the victim and support them during the attack
- Document the Incident, which suggests recording the incident on video
- Support the Victim by Sticking Around, with a focus on talking to the victim after the attack and helping them regain their composure
- Call out the Everyday Culture of White Supremacy, a tip that encourages people to challenge anti-Blackness and white supremacy. It specifically mentions that white people need to have these conversations with their white family and friends
- Organize & Protest for Justice, a reminder that protests aren’t the only way to support marginalized populations; letter writing, canvassing and phone banks are all supportive.
“While it is commendable of school administration to educate students relative to possible responses to racial attacks at school, it is reprehensible of them to include a tip that specifically states not to contact police while simultaneously telling students they should put themselves front and center of the exchange,” a statement from the Denver Police Foundation in response to the video said.
The video shown was created by the Barnard Center for Research on Women, which is a part of Barnard College at Columbia University. Its creators said, “This video offers a concise approach to bystander intervention that does not rely on the police.”
After the video was shown, South High School Principal Rachel Goss sent a letter to parents explaining why that decision was made.
“I am writing this note to emphasize that the intention behind the video was to provide empowerment for people who may witness these types of attacks, not to have any sort of negative impact on the longstanding relationship between the Denver Public Schools and the Denver Police Department,” Goss’ letter said in part. “As Principal of Denver South High School I remain committed to working with and continue to strengthen this partnership between our school and members of law enforcement.”
In a later statement, DPS said the video was “not fully vetted prior to its viewing.”
“One of the six points in the video offers suggestions for possible interventions that do not include contacting law enforcement. While some communities of color report that they are over-policed and disproportionately impacted by the presence of law enforcement, nonetheless, there are some narratives in this video that we do not subscribe to in DPS.”
Investigative reporter Rob Low has reached out to the school district and police to learn more about this. He will have the latest information during FOX31 News at 4 and 5.