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DPS increases security at school after visitor entered under false pretenses, harassed parents and staff

Increased security at DPS school after harassment from visitor who entered on 'false pretenses'
Posted at 10:13 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 09:12:22-05

DENVER —- Denver Public Schools is increasing security at one of its schools after a visitor became "verbally abusive" towards parents and staff Monday.

Laura Munro, principal of Centennial Elementary School, detailed the ordeal in two letters sent home to parents this week.

"A man came to our front door, talked with a team member through our intercom and said that he wanted to register his granddaughter at our school," she wrote. "We buzzed him in. Once inside our main office, he talked with our team about the registration process. The conversations suddenly changed to his opposition of our participation in the “Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action."”

After harassing staff, Munro said the man went outside and displayed a sign in protest and then began harassing parents on the sidewalk. It wasn't until a member of Denver Public School's Dept of Safety arrived that the man left the premises.

Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action is nationwide, annual event from Jan. 31 through Feb. 4. The event encourages educators to teach a series of lessons, incorporating the 13 principals of the Black Lives Matter movement. School leadership told Denver7 it's Centennial's second year participating.

Over the weekend, the nonprofit Parents Defending Education learned and posted about Centennial Elementary School participating in the event. Fox News and the Washington Examiner shared stories of their own shortly thereafter.

Erika Sanzi, director of outreach for Parents Defending Education, told Fox News in a statement that the school's involvement was "indoctrination" and bordering on "abuse."

On Tuesday, Centennial Elementary School, Denver Public Schools and the DPS Board of Education all released statements doubling down on their commitment to the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.

"Equity is all of our responsibility," said Dr. Tony Smith, director of equity and inclusion for DPS. "DPS is a school committed to equity, and it's our responsibility as citizens of a multicultural society to educate ourselves on difference."

In 2019, the DPS Board of Education signed a resolution that states all DPS schools are required to support students and their right to advocate for social justice.

"This is not just Centennial, this is a DPS family of schools engaging and supporting equity across the board," Smith said.

The district says they've been fielding off a series of angry emails about the ordeal. Several of the emails were shared with Denver7.

In one email, a parent called the teachings "indoctrination." In another, a writer used a series of misogynistic slurs. Other emails shared support and asked the school to stand strong in its commitment.

DPS told Denver7 members of its Dept. of Security will be increasing patrols at Centennial over the coming days.