DENVER — Denver Public Schools released the final draft of its school safety plan Friday, meeting the deadline that was set by the Board of Education in March following the shooting at East High School.
Under the plan, school resource officers (SROs) will be placed at the district's comprehensive schools. There is a potential for SROs to be placed at more campuses in the future, Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero said Friday.
"There is a possibility for expansion," Marrero said. "But in the most immediate, we had them... across 14 of our campuses. That will be the starting point for those."
Marrero said he will need to sit down with Denver Mayor-Elect Mike Johnston and Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas to discuss a potential budget for SROs and other safety measures.
"That's all to be determined because at the moment, we're expending $0 on our SROs because of the crisis and response. We plan to start the year in the same way. So we'll be cost neutral," the superintendent said. "However, when we sit down with our soon to be mayor and our chief of police, we do expect to iron out those details in case there is an expansion."
The plan will also require DPS Department of Climate and Safety officers — some of whom are armed — to be present during pat downs and weapons searches. In March, two East HS deans were shot by a student who was under a pat-down protocol.
Marrero said the officers won't perform the pat-down, but "they'll be involved with the pat-down."
"So that can simply be being in the room... which is a major shift from what it was," the superintendent said.
Denver7 Investigates learned 40 Denver Public Schools students were under a pat-down safety policy the same day as a shooting inside East High School, and that those numbers are not required to be reported to the district.
Denver7 | Investigates
40 DPS students on pat-down protocol at time of East HS shooting, records show
When asked if it would be better for overall safety to require the reporting of such numbers, Marrero said it would "be ideal."
"It would be ideal for all schools to report up, but there's a fight in Colorado and in Denver," he told Denver7. "Remember, the system that I inherited is not the system that I'm going to build, and where local control is paramount and schools being the agent of change. So in this administration, we will have a school district as opposed to a district of schools."
Marrero clarified that as superintendent, he does have the authority to make pat-down reporting mandatory.
"We have to engage, right? So that has to do with negotiations," he said.
Schools will have the power to decide if they would like weapons detection systems installed.
"Well, not your traditional metal detection. So a little bit more sophisticated than what we see in certain places and even airports ... there's some tweaking that we need to do in terms of the sensitivity ... we have to get it right before we introduce," Marrero said.
Community engagement would be required before such steps.
According to the district's timeline, the next step is to develop "reasonable interpretation(s)," followed by the development of goals and metrics. Exact dates for such steps were not listed.
To view the full plan, click here.