Statement on Gun Violence Prevention

Nov. 3, 2023

Dear DPS Community,

At Denver Public Schools, our top priority is to keep our students, staff and families safe. Knowing that firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States, I cannot understate the importance of gun violence prevention. A key component of prevention is keeping DPS families and team members informed on available safety measures and resources for gun violence prevention.

The Extreme Risk Protection Law (ERPL) provides key community members who recognize warning signs a way to intervene before these warning signs escalate into tragedies without going through the criminal court system. The ERPL allows for a family, household member, law enforcement officer, licensed health-care professional or mental health professional, and educator to petition for a temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). The ERPO requires the respondent to surrender their firearms and prohibits the respondent from possessing, controlling, purchasing or receiving a firearm for 364 days.

For information on the process to file an ERPO and relevant resources, call 855-999-3776 to reach the 24/7 ERPO Hotline or visit Colorado’s Self-Help ERPO page.

Additionally, it is crucial to know how to store firearms securely and help keep your family safe. The Be SMART framework encourages secure storage, model behavior, asking about unsecured guns in other homes, recognizing the role of guns in suicide and teaching others to follow the framework.

I strongly urge all families, staff and community members who may store firearms in their homes to please follow safe storage best practices to prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands and entering our school communities and surrounding environments. Even if you do not own or store firearms but know family members, neighbors or friends who do, please share these Be SMART practices with them. Taking these extra safety steps can save lives.

In collaboration,

Dr. Alex Marrero