On April 24, Denver Police asked our Denver Public Schools Department of Safety to respond to a situation at RiseUp Community School, a DPS charter school. Denver Police informed us that they were surrounding the building, and a shooting suspect was inside. Understandably alarmed by the urgency of the dispatch, multiple DPS officers responded to the school, including our Chief of Safety. Our Department of Safety officers believed they were responding to a critical incident involving a person with a weapon inside the school. The school leader informed Chief Eaton that DPD had not described an imminent safety risk, and that he told responding DPD officers that the student was not present at school. Our Chief of Safety, recognizing the conflicting information but acknowledging the risk that there could be an armed student on campus, allowed DPD to search the classrooms.
We recognize that this experience was incredibly traumatic for our students, staff and the entire RiseUp family, and are troubled by the reports we have received from the school staff and students. As a diverse and inclusive school district, we are deeply aware that experiences with and perceptions of law enforcement have a profound impact on our city, particularly in our communities of color. We are committed to ensuring the safety of our students, both physically and emotionally, and this situation has brought to the forefront the importance of conversations about how policing looks and feels inside our schools. We look forward to working with our schools, community partners, and the Denver Police Department to ensure that our school-based policing practices preserve the safety and dignity of all involved.