DENVER – After five hours of contentious public comment online, the Denver Public Schools Board has voted to end its relationship with the Denver Police Department.
In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the DPS board voted in favor of the resolution to remove all 18 School Resource Officers (SROs) throughout the district. Based on the resolution, all officers must be removed by June 4, 2021.
Studies have shown black and Latino students are more likely to be ticketed, suspended and arrested by officers on school campuses.
Tay Anderson, who led the charge to end the relationship with DPD, wants to take the $750,000 contract the district has with Denver police and instead use the money to help students struggling due the pandemic, as well as put more resources on mental health issues.
“Our students shouldn’t be greeted by law enforcement officers, they need to be greeted by mental health support, school counselors and full-time nurses in our schools,” Anderson has told Denver7 previously. Anderson, the youngest member to have been elected to the Denver School Board, still thinks schools should have security, but doesn’t believe they should be armed.
The resolution not only ends the district’s contract with the Denver Police Department, it also directs DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova to begin a community process by the end of August to come up with a plan to keep the thousands of students at the district safe.
“George Floyd’s death, and every tragic death of Black people at the hands of law enforcement, have brought to light how we as a district can respond and do more for our students of color," Cordova said in a prepared statement after the vote. "It's important to think about the full context here: strong safety resources on our campuses; trusting relationships with the adults in our schools; and the urgent and absolute need to end the school-to-prison pipeline. I believe the board has voted on this resolution with the best interest of students at heart."
The Denver Public Schools Board will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Friday to discuss Thursday's vote. Denver7 will carry that news conference live on our website, our streaming services and social media channels.