Gun Violence and Schools

Superintendent Alex Marrero had asked the board to make a decision before he finalizes a new school safety plan.
Greg Cazzell has worked 8 years as Aurora Public Schools security chief and 22 years on the Glendale police force.
One proposal calls for training community resource officers who would respond only to emergencies and threats. Another would give Superintendent Alex Marrero discretion to station police inside schools.
Superintendent Alex Marrero previously suggested schools should decide on SROs. Now he wants the school board to set policy.
Some students and advocacy groups are speaking out against permanently reintroducing police in schools. “We want to be students, not prisoners,” one student said.
A district document cites several reasons why it’s been difficult to hire a new chief, including media coverage of the school board.
“The regret I have right now is that he’s not here for me to tell him that,” Mason said of student Austin Lyle, who took his own life after shooting Mason and another dean.
Only 42% of respondents to a Denver teachers union survey said police in schools would make them feel safe.
Denver district would retrain all employees in safety procedures and will focus on mental health and equity, its draft safety plan proposes.
Colorado’s open meetings law declares that the “formation of public policy is public business and may not be conducted in secret.”
“If you enter the school system as a 3-year-old, and you exit as an 18-year-old, you will have done 60 lockdown drills,” one parent said. “This is not about making anyone less safe — this is about being smart about what is the best mediated solution.”
“They are shrugging their shoulders at us,” said one Nashville mom, “but we are not going to stop.”
Nearly 63% of respondents said board members care more about their own political ambitions than about improving educational outcomes for children.
“We are a welcoming environment,” a top Denver administrator said this week. “We really want students to be in their school environment.”
Students discussed their constant worries about gun violence and the disconnect they feel from those welcoming the NRA to town.
Everyone tells me to be thankful that the shooting at my high school didn’t claim more lives. That’s cold comfort.
For two high schoolers who joined protests against gun violence, ‘there’s just a lot more hope in the room.’
‘Anything that’s happening amongst us ... shouldn’t even make the top 10. It shouldn’t matter at all. Because our babies don’t feel safe,’ Denver board member Michelle Quattlebaum said.
Board President Xóchitl “Sochi” Gaytán has accused Vice President Auon’tai Anderson of disclosing information from a closed-door executive session. Anderson denies it.
Justin Pearson says he was fulfilling his duty ‘to elevate the issues when they are being ignored.’
“If more guns in more places made us safer, we’d be the safest state on the planet, and we’re not,” a Nashville dad and gun-control advocate said.
Guns have been brandished or fired on school grounds more than 230 times this academic year. Can schools enhance security without turning campuses into fortresses?
If you are an educator or parent looking for information on how to talk to students following community trauma, we have resources for you.
‘We can do something,’ Gov. Lee says: Put armed guards in every public school.
If you value Chalkbeat, consider making a donation
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn’t possible without your help.