DENVER (KDVR) — On the heels of yet another shooting at Denver East High School, the topic of how to protect students in the classroom and school resource officers has been brought back up.
On Wednesday, two faculty members who are deans at East High were shot and transported to a local hospital. The suspect is a male student that was under a safety plan to be patted down each day before entering the school. During that search, the student got hold of a weapon and shot the two faculty members.
In June 2020, the Denver Public Schools Board unanimously voted to remove student resource officers from campuses, thus ending the district’s contract with the Denver Police Department. All SRO positions were eliminated by June 2021.
The following school board members voted to remove SROs:
- Auon’tai Anderson
- Jennifer Bacon
- Scott Baldermann
- Angela Cobián
- Rev. Brad D Laurvick
- Barbara O’Brien
- Carrie Olson
Following Wednesday’s shooting at East High, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas told parents that officers would return to campus. Two armed police officers will be present at the high school for the remainder of the school year.
Wednesday afternoon, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero sent a letter to the school board informing them that he would be adding an armed officer at each of Denver’s comprehensive high schools. The board responded by saying it supports this decision.
Thomas said his department has been advocating to reverse the school board’s decision to remove SROs.
FOX31 found similar policies in Douglas County where the staff does backpack searches after threat assessments. Aurora’s school district authorizes the principal and some other staff to conduct searches.
A Jefferson County Public Schools spokesperson told Fox31 if a weapon is suspected, armed school safety officers partner with local law enforcement to investigate.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also called the decision to remove SROs a “mistake” following Wednesday’s shooting.
“It’s also time to return School Resource Officers in our schools. Removing them was a mistake and we must move swiftly to correct it. We’re ready to work with DPS, and we all have to step up as a community and be part of the solution,” Hancock said in a statement.
In addition to the officers at East High School, Thomas told parents that the department would work to assess the safety and security needs at each school and engage with the school board in that conversation.