Nearly six months after police were stationed on some Denver high school campuses, the school district and the city police department signed an agreement in September that outlines what the officers should and should not do, according to a copy of the agreement.
For instance, the agreement says the officers should “differentiate between disciplinary issues and crime problems and respond appropriately,” and should not store guns inside schools.
The agreement — which is sometimes referred to as a memorandum of understanding, or MOU — was quietly signed last month. The lack of an agreement has been a sore spot for some parent groups and a political talking point for school board candidates.
The agreement is “a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to create a safe and supportive educational environment for all students and staff,” Denver Public Schools said in a statement.
“It is important to note that this arrangement underscores the importance of minimizing law enforcement involvement in routine school disciplinary matters and places a strong emphasis on considering alternative approaches before requesting (police) intervention.”
Police officers known as school resource officers, or SROs, temporarily returned to 13 DPS high schools in April after a March shooting inside East High School. The school board had removed SROs in 2020 over concerns about the overpolicing of Black students.
In June, a majority of board members voted to keep SROs in schools going forward. The Denver Police Department is footing the bill for 14 officers this school year. Before SROs were removed in 2020, the police department and school district split the cost.
Here’s a closer look inside the agreement. It says that:
Melanie Asmar is a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado, covering Denver Public Schools. Contact Melanie at email@example.com.
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.