Dear DPS Community,
On Monday evening, I sent a message to the Denver East High School community after they endured the trauma from the phony report to law enforcement of an active shooter inside the school. East High School was one of four schools throughout the state that received similar false threats. I came to the East High School campus that day and saw that the trauma for the students, educators and families was real.
Just 12 days earlier, these same families dealt with the shock of shootings at a nearby recreation center. A fistfight turned into a gunfight. An East High School student and a former East High School student were shot. Both survived. Denver police are investigating the shootings. Back in May, I was at the Paul Sandoval Campus with Denver police after a report of a student in school armed with a gun. Officers recovered a paintball gun, and took students into custody. The District Attorney charged four students in relation to this incident.
These and other instances of gun violence and/or related to gun violence at or near our schools have been happening far too much. Members of the Board of Education and I are concerned. Our educators throughout the school district are concerned. The leadership of the Denver Police Department is concerned. Just before I rushed over to East High School on Monday, I was about to head to DPD headquarters to meet with DPD Interim Chief of Police Ron Thomas, the mayor’s nominee to be the next chief of police. Our plan was to talk about ways to maintain safe and nurturing schools, address violence at its earliest stages, and prevent easy access to firearms by those who would do harm.
We want you all to know that this is not the first time the school district and police have gotten together to work on ways to help keep our students safe. It will not be the last time. As many of you know, we are also Denver Public Schools parents. So, this work is as close to our hearts as it is to all of you. Please know that our team will continue to work with law enforcement to determine ways to stop shootings and gun violence in and around our schools. We must all work together to stop this violence. Our children are counting on us.
Dr. Alex Marrero
Board of Education,
Denver Public Schools