Denver Public Schools Add Security Guards, Seek Tickets For Students

After removing police officers from its schools over the past year, Denver Public Schools has bolstered its own armed patrol unit and is in talks with the city to allow these police officers to issue tickets to students for offenses such as as possession of marijuana and fighting.

While the district believes the arrangement contributes to its goal of reducing student interactions with police, some advocates see it as a bait and a switch. Denver Public Schools will no longer have 18 Denver police officers stationed inside ticket-issuing schools, but if the arrangement is finalized, the District’s expanded mobile force of 25 armed patrol officers would now have that authority.

“They can’t find the solution; they are just finding new ways to criminalize our students, ”said Elsa Bañuelos, executive director of the rights group Padres & Jóvenes Unidos.

The arrangement would allow armed district patrol officers, who are not sworn police officers, to sanction students for up to 15 municipal code violations (see box), according to a draft agreement provided to Chalkbeat. These types of violations accounted for at least 80% of tickets or arrests of Denver students in the 2019-20 school year, according to state data.

The school district is working with the Denver Department of Public Safety and the Denver City Attorney’s Office to solidify the arrangement. The district is hoping it will be finalized in the coming weeks, said Mike Eaton, acting deputy director of operations for Denver Public Schools. District officers should undergo training before they can issue tickets, according to the agreement.

These are violations of the municipal code for which armed patrol officers at Denver public schools could issue tickets, according to a draft agreement between the school district and the city. The agreement is not yet finalized. The two entities are still working on amendments related to the enforcement of Denver’s marijuana ordinance, a district spokesperson said.

  • Possession or use of marijuana
  • Aggression
  • Public fights
  • Threats
  • Intrusion
  • Destruction of public property
  • Destruction of private property
  • Minor theft (of an item valued at less than $ 2,000)
  • Possession of injection devices
  • Possession of prohibited graffiti
  • Carry, carry or use dangerous or lethal weapons
  • Sell, carry or use certain knives
  • Throwing stones or missiles
  • Parking in a private driveway
  • Parking in violation of posted signs

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Susan W. Lloyd

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