Dear Team DPS,
In the past week, we have seen a series of violent acts across our country that is prompting us to reflect on our commitment to providing equitable and inclusive environments where all our students and adults feel safe and socially and emotionally supported. We stand with communities across the country in decrying the hate crimes in Pittsburgh and Louisville and the attempted bombings targeting prominent public figures. Sadly, yesterday in Charlotte, a teenage boy was killed in what Education Week reports was the 22nd school shooting that resulted in death or injury in 2018. Our hearts and our thoughts go out to the victims of these attacks and their families.
In DPS, we are proud to be a Safe and Welcoming School District, where we’re dedicated to helping Every Child Succeed. DPS embraces our diverse students, families and communities. Our district’s core beliefs remind us that diversity is a community treasure and equity is at the core of our mission. We commit to building a culture that embraces and values the unique identity and potential of every child. We will not waiver from this belief. The Teaching Tolerance project of the Southern Poverty Law Center offers useful resources for educators, and a reminder this week about the importance of talking about hate. “We’ve witnessed these hate-fueled moments so many times before, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about them when they happen. Because when we don’t, we show our students that what’s happening is unremarkable.”
According to the National Association of School Psychologists, high-profile acts of violence can confuse and frighten students who may feel they, their friends or their loved ones are in danger. They will look to adults for guidance about how to react, and adults can help by talking with them about their fears.
For help with these conversations, please visit this online resource: “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers.” This printable handout is available in 10 languages.
We also encourage you to contact your school counselor if you need support or see any signs of distress or concerning behavior. In addition, we encourage you to reach out to the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) helpline at 720-423-3054.
To learn more about how our Safety Team and our schools prepare for emergencies, please visit safety.dpsk12.org and click on Emergency Management Resources. There, you will find our emergency information guide for parents in 10 languages.
Remind your children that if they “see something, say something.” Research shows warning signs occur in more than 80% of violent incidents. Colorado’s Safe2Tell hotline at 877-542-7233 allows students, parents, educators and community members to report concerns anonymously. Keeping our kids, teachers and schools safe is the responsibility of everyone in our community.
Finally, we have the opportunity to raise our voices to make the changes that are so necessary in our country. Let us continue to be strong in decrying hate and demonstrate our Shared Core Value of Equity, embracing the safety, security and richness of diversity.
Dr. Ron Cabrera Anne Rowe
Interim Superintendent Board of Education President