DPS cancels classes districtwide Friday in wake of East High shooting

Denver Public Schools declared Friday a “mental health day” and canceled all classes districtwide in the wake of the shooting of two administrators at East High School.

Superintendent Alex Marrero announced the move in an email to the DPS school leaders, writing, “No student or employee should have to carry the fear of potential violence when they walk into our buildings each day.”

“To allow us all to take a moment to pause and process the challenging events this year, including the data breach, tomorrow, March 24, is a non-student contact mental health day for all students and DPS employees,” Marrero wrote.

The district’s Board of Education also canceled its regular Thursday board meeting, replacing it with a special meeting to discuss security arrangements after the shooting. Board members spent most of Thursday morning meeting in a closed session.

On Wednesday, Marrero said he will station two armed officers from the Denver Police Department at East for the rest of the academic year. He has also said he is “committing” to have an armed officer at each of Denver’s comprehensive high schools despite the fact that doing so “likely violates” school board policy, according to a letter he sent to directors.

“However, I can no longer stand on the sidelines,” Marrero wrote in the letter to the school board. “I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions.”

The superintendent’s decision was supported by Mayor Michael Hancock and comes after police say a student shot and wounded two administrators inside the school as they performed a daily search of the teen for weapons. The shooting was the second to occur at East in about a month.

Junior Luis Garcia,16, died earlier this month after he was shot outside of the high school in February. Ever since then, East students and parents have called for tighter security.

East students and parents have called for officers in school, as well as for the district to find other ways to improve safety, such as investing in community programs or adding metal detectors. Students have also advocated for more gun legislation.

The school board voted in 2020 to remove the Denver Police Department’s resource officers following the protests over the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Members have argued that police officers in schools are harmful to students of color and contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Get more Colorado news by signing up for our Mile High Roundup email newsletter.

Source: Read Full Article