As you may already be hearing in the news and on social media, a few weeks ago in Memphis, TN, a young man, Mr. Tyre Nichols, was brutally beaten and murdered by the Memphis police. We have seen these acts of completely horrifying and unimaginable police brutality far too often. This incident involves five African-American male police officers beating Tyre Nichols, another African-American man, to death. The incident was captured on video. We are hearing that the video, which is being released today, is horrific and is very graphic. We anticipate that the video will be all over the news and on social media.
The Denver Public Schools Board of Education and Denver Public Schools condemns this murder. DPS continues to be a Safe and Welcoming School District. Tragic events like this serve as a reminder that, as a district, we have a responsibility to make sure that we are doing our part to foster acceptance and belonging. We will steadfastly continue our commitment to ensure that our students learn about our country’s long and continuing struggle to live our ideals of liberty and justice for all.
Although it may be nearly impossible because of the coverage on traditional media and social media, we encourage you to NOT watch the video. Please know that our young people may see this video circulating on social media and/or on the news in the coming days and weeks. We are also encouraging you to be prepared to talk with your children who may see the video as they may have questions or feel emotions ranging from anger and confusion, to possibly fear and grief. Please let them know that we adults are here to support them while they process this tragedy.
Our staff, specifically our School Psychologists and Social Workers, will be available in the coming weeks to support our scholars on campus as we know this may take an emotional toll. Our school leaders will provide space and resources for students and staff members who may need social emotional support to process their emotions and to find understanding. Our educators are prepared to help our students navigate the possible insensitive comments or conversations that may take place. We ask that you help in preparing your child to potentially have respectful and sensitive conversations about this situation if this topic comes up between students when they return to school on Monday.
Please know that the emotional, mental and physical well-being of our students is of the highest importance to us. Our teams will be prepared across the district to support our students, and we encourage you to reach out to your school leader if you believe your child could benefit from any extra social-emotional support at school.
We are Team DPS, and we stand together.
Dr. Alex Marrero, DPS Superintendent
DPS Board of Education