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Denver Public Schools Suspend Ban on Armed Guards

After two faculty members were shot and wounded by a student at a Denver high school, the local school board voted unanimously to temporarily suspend its nearly two-year-old ban on armed guards and police officers in its schools, reports CNN. The district’s policy banning armed security at schools was adopted as part of a larger plan by the board of education in the summer of 2020, which said it wanted to “transition” school resource officers from Denver campuses, citing studies that showed the presence of officers in schools criminalized Black and brown students. School district Superintendent Alex Marrero now says he is “committed” to having two armed police officers stationed at East High School, the scene of Wednesday's shooting, during school hours through the end of the academic year regardless of the official policy. The board on Thursday emphasized that the superintendent needed to develop a new safety plan. The district does not have enough money for additional armed security indefinitely. The board directed Marrero to reach out to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock for funding to place two armed officers and up to two mental health professionals in every Denver high school through the rest of the school year. Hancock said he also wants school resource officers back in all schools and called removing them a "mistake".

The alleged gunman, 17-year-old Austin Lyle, shot the adults who were performing a daily search of him because of his past behavior. Lyle fled the school and his body was later found, an apparent suicide. More than 1,000 students rallied at the Colorado Capitol to push gun reform legislation on Thursday in a protest demanding better school security and firearms control, the Associated Press reports. Gun violence at East High is all too familiar to students who attend. Just last month, a16-year-old student was shot inside a parked car near the school and died weeks later. A group of East High students in response to the shooting attended a city council meeting and demanded action on gun violence and school safety. Aubriana Acuna said she was “freaking out” when she learned of the shooting and said it’s unfair that she has to endure the constant occurrences of gun violence. “We’re just kind of numb to it at this point since this has happened so much,” she told KMGH. “We’re so exhausted about all this. It’s so unfair. … This happens almost every single day. I can’t even walk outside my house without feeling like I’m gonna die, or I’m gonna get shot. And it’s terrifying for everyone.” Earlier this month, the Denver East High School chapter of Students Demand Action staged a school walkout and called for immediate action on gun safety. The demonstration was marked by a march through the city to the State Capitol building and featured more than 1,000 students and educators, according to the organization. Students at the event wore red and held signs such as “School was my safe place,” “Our blood, your hands” and “Am I next?,” according to KMGH.


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