This story was originally published by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here: ckbe.at/newsletters
Police officers will be phased out of working in Denver’s public schools over the next year, with all school resource officers gone from middle and high schools by June 2021.
The Denver school board voted unanimously Thursday to end Denver Public Schools’ contract with the Denver Police Department to provide school resource officers. The vote comes after weeks of local and nationwide protests against racist policing sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
“What we saw in our streets was a reaction to what we will no longer tolerate,” said board Vice President Jennifer Bacon, who drafted the resolution to end the police contract along with board member Tay Anderson. “This topic is not new or knee-jerk.”
The vote represents a victory for community activists who have pressed the district for more than a decade to remove sworn officers from campus because of the higher rate at which students of color are referred to law enforcement.
The $720,000 contract with Denver police provided the district with 18 school resource officers this past school year. The district also has its own force of more than 100 unarmed and armed campus security officers who will continue to provide security for Denver schools.
Before the board voted Thursday, it heard both from educators, parents, and community members who support removing police from schools and those who don’t.