DENVER — As Denver Public Schools addresses reintegrating school resource officers (SROs), Superintendent Alex Marrero is facing mounting pressure from parents and the school board for answers on long-term school safety.
Thirteen school resource officers have returned to Denver high school campuses, but questions remain. Parents want to know why only certain schools got the extra security and who will ultimately pay for it.
Parents questioning how DPS decided which schools get DPD officers
Parents feel the superintendent is listening but not leading. A group of DPS parents gave Marrero an April 5 deadline for an updated safety plan but did not receive a response.
“Stop saying you are looking into it," said Astrid Ruiz, an East High School parent. "We need answers, and we need them quickly. If it were your child, you would be doing it as fast as you could."
The DPS Board of Education tried to get those answers from Marrero during a tense meeting Monday.
Members pressed for an updated on the safety plan, why their agenda didn’t include any specific time to talk about public safety and how they can get involved. But Marrero declined the opportunity to collaborate or provide an update.
“The request to get an update on safety is a common one, and I am going to use this as an opportunity to inform the entire community that yes, thank you for the feedback, thank you for the desire to help and develop. And we will, and I will inform the board. But I also know there is request for a community-led process, and I am going to say this carefully and respectfully — this is where we need the experts,” Marrero said.
School resource officers: Why they were removed from DPS and what happens now
Marrero promised the board an update on April 26. He has until June 30 to develop a long-term safety plan before he presents it to the school board for review. The board will then vote on it prior to the start of the 2023-24 school year.
But parents want urgent solutions that impact the current school year and don’t want to wait until summer vacation when the community is less focused.