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Douglas County school board holds first meeting following shooting at STEM School

This was the first school board meeting since the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch last week.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Parents, students and community members are asking district leaders for immediate changes to make Douglas County schools safer.

They stood before the school board Tuesday night to address school safety and mental health issues.

"I want to ensure that Douglas County students feel safe and supported in their schools," said Claudia English, who told the board she is a Highlands Ranch High School freshman. "It is important to me that my school district hears their students enough to take action."

"It's not right that school is no longer a safe place," said a district parent, Marty McMillan. "It's not right for the students who go to school scared, the parents who worry about them every day, nor the teachers and administrators that put their lives at risk to do their job."

This was the first school board meeting since the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch last week. One student was killed, and eight others were injured.

RELATED | 1 student killed, 8 others injured when classmates open fire at STEM School Highlands Ranch

The two suspected shooters, also students, are in custody and due back in court Wednesday.

RELATED | Court dates rescheduled for suspects in STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting

On Monday, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners announced the re-appropriation of $10 million from their general fund toward public school safety and mental health services. 

Community members came to that meeting, too, asking for the money to be spent on things like metal detectors and single points of entry to school buildings. 

RELATED | 'A guitar case with guns made it into the school': DougCo commissioners allocate $10M toward school safety

Commissioners also heard from Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, who said he wants to see more SROs in the district’s schools. He called the current ratio of students to SROs “not appropriate.”

Parents and students asked the school board for many of the same solutions Tuesday night.

"We believe that the only action that take place now and can make a difference immediately is to put metal detectors in the schools with one way in and one way out," McMillan said.

"We realize that this isn’t a perfect solution, and there are significant costs associated. But a student with a guitar case can't be recognized as a shooter, and the only way to possibly prevent this in the short term is to keep the gun out of the school."

"There are more armed security guards in this room tonight than there are in my 2000 student high school on a daily basis. That is absurd," said Mattysen Short, a junior at Castle View High School.

"Before next year, please provide for your students, more physical safety and mental health education," she said to the school board. "Because we, the students, are the future. But not if we get shot and killed first."

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