Last month, Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to end the district’s contract with the Denver Police Department. We applaud this important first step toward police-free schools and ending the school to prison pipeline, but we know this is just the beginning.
As part of the decision, the Board will spend school year 2020-2021 making plans to effectively phase out School Resource Officers by June 2021, by creating a Task Force and engaging community in critical conversations about imagining what safe and just schools look like in DPS moving forward.
Last week, Director Angela Cobián and Stand Parent Leaders had a virtual conversation about the Board’s decision and the path forward.
Parents shared concerns and ideas such as prioritizing building authentic relationships between students and staff, incorporating restorative justice practices, as well as ensuring there are safety protocols in place when a law is broken, or students’ safety is at risk.
Director Cobián named that removing SRO’s doesn’t mean an end to relations with the Denver Police Department saying, “The reality is we will need to have a relationship with the police…the law will compel us to call the police. I think there’s room to improve our relationship with the police and how they treat our students.” She also shared the opinion of parents who called for more robust resources and services onsite for students saying, “Calling the police or having our students be in contact with the police should be a last resort.”
Stand Organizing Director, Danielle DeSantis, highlighted a path for these community conversations to continue saying, “Our work here is to reimagine what comes in place of [police officers on campus].”
Stand Parent Leaders are committed to engaging in this work. As Parent Leader, Tina Carroll, noted, “We are a community and what happens in our community is up to us.”