View looking south down Nome Street from East 13th Avenue where Aurora police were investigating a shooting near Aurora Central High School that left six teens injured on Nov. 15, 2021. (Jeremy Sparig, Special to The Colorado Sun).

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Police officers will return to Denver schools next year, after the school board voted 4 to 3 Thursday to allow “the persistent presence of school resource officers” at schools.

The new policy reverses a 2020 board decision to remove SROs from Denver schools and puts to rest — at least for now — a debate that has raged in the community for nearly three months. 

The split vote came after nearly four hours of debate, several amendments to the proposal, and accusations that some board members intentionally delayed the vote. 


Board President Xóchitl “Sochi” Gaytán and members Scott Baldermann, Charmaine Lindsay, and Carrie Olson voted in favor of bringing police back to schools. 

“This is about deterrence,” said Baldermann, who authored the proposal. “If it stops one kid from bringing a loaded gun into a school, I think it’s worth it.”

Board Vice President Auon’tai Anderson and members Scott Esserman and Michelle Quattlebaum voted no. The three board members had backed an alternate proposal that would have established a group of “community resources officers” that would have responded to schools when necessary but would not have been stationed inside them.

Anderson said returning SROs was going “back to an oppressive system.”

“The police system in America is designed to oppress,” Esserman said.