DENVER — When Denver Public Schools students return to class next week after spring break they see School Resource Officers (SROs) at 13 schools, the district said.
That comes after a 17-year-old student shot two deans at East High School on March 22. Jerald Mason and Eric Sinclair were both taken to the hospital for treatment. Mason has since been released and as of Friday, Sinclair remained at Denver Health and was listed in good condition.
When students return Tuesday SROs will be at the following schools.
- North HS
- South HS
- West HS
- East HS
- Montbello HS
- Dr. Martin Luther King Early College (DMLK)
- George Washington HS
- Thomas Jefferson HS
- Abraham Lincoln HS
- John F. Kennedy HS
- Manual HS
- Northfield HS
- Evie Dennis Campus
The Denver Police Department (DPD) said in addition, an officer in each of the six DPD districts is assigned as a liaison to the middle and high schools in their respective districts. They will act as a point of contact and resource to discuss safety concerns for school leaders who do not have an assigned SRO at their school.
The liaison program was started at the direction of Chief Ron Thomas after the fatal shooting of Luis Garcia near East High School on Feb. 13, DPD said.
The school board voted unanimously in the summer of 2020 to remove 18 Denver Police officers from its schools and rely on the school district's own safety officers instead. The decision came amid social justice protests and was based on data showing the majority of students ticketed and arrested were Black and Latino students between the ages of 10 and 15.
However, after the shooting last week, the DPS board voted unanimously to suspend the policy that prevented Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero from placing them in schools through the end of the school year.
The board also directed Marrero to work with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on "external funding" for as many as two armed police officers and as many as two mental health professionals at all high schools for the remainder of the 2022-23 school year.
Students return to class Tuesday in all schools, except East HS, which will have a day of support for students and staff on that day but no classes, according to a letter from the principal. It's a chance for staff and students to connect with mental health professionals and peers.
On Monday, April 3, East High is hosting a family and community engagement meeting which will include representatives from campus safety and Denver Police.
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