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Teacher says slow down on push to remove all officers from Denver Public Schools

Denver School Board takes up matter today
Posted at 2:42 PM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 20:51:00-04

DENVER — The Denver School Board will be getting pushback this afternoon from some educators who are concerned that the district is moving too quickly to end its relationship with Denver police.

Casandra Wint has strong feelings about the issue.

She said she strongly agrees with board member Tay Anderson's call to end the school-to-prison pipeline, but doesn't believe removing all School Resource Officers is the solution.

"I believe our kids are earmarked," she said, "but I do not believe that in my community, or in my building, that our resource officer is pushing kids into the system. I see no evidence of that."

Wint, a mother of two, teaches business classes at several high schools in northeast Denver.

She said before the pandemic, "it felt like you were hearing about a 13 or 14 year old being killed almost every month."

She said there have been times when the principal at her school, which she didn't want to name, would run to one door, and another administrator would run to another to try to keep a trouble maker out.

"In order to keep our kids safe, we have to have the correct resources in our building and that is our resource officer," she told Denver7.

Wint said, "Our students are amazing. Our students deserve a good education and our students deserve to come to school and feel safe."

Anderson, the youngest African-American elected to office in Colorado, said the money spent on SROs could be better spent on counselors, nurses and social services for students.

During a rally for police accountability in neighboring Aurora, Saturday, Anderson said, "DPS will no longer be the epicenter for police brutality, for the school to prison pipeline."

He officially challenged other districts to end their contracts with their local police departments.

Wint said she posted support for her SRO on Facebook and was surprised that others in other schools did the same.

"I've been in my building for 6 years and I've never observed our resource officer (negatively) policing our building in any way. I've seen him at lunch," Wint said. "I've seen him in the halls. I've seen him in student/staff basketball games. I've seen him in all kinds of, more of those fun community roles."

She said if there's an incident involving a gun or violence, the SRO is the one she would want to call.

"I don't want to call a social worker," Wint said. "I want to call somebody who I know will handle our kids with respect and dignity, but will also protect the greater good, which is the bigger body."

There are 18 SROs at DPS.

The virtual School Board meeting begins at 4:30. At least 70 people have signed up to speak on the issue.

The meeting is expected to last five hours.