FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2023
Oscar Juarez-Luna, email@example.com
Elected Leaders Have a Responsibility Toward All Children,
Must Avoid Shortcuts
As Politicians Grapple with Failure to Provide Safe Environments Where All Kids Can Thrive, They Should Ask Hard Questions and Listen to Community, Not Look for Shortcuts
Denver — Movimiento Poder, a Southwest Denver-based community organization, released the following statement:
“As a grassroots organization channeling the concerns of Denver youth and parents in our community, we live every day with the consequences of our policymakers’ choices — including long after the cameras are gone.
“We have long advocated for real solutions that are long-lasting, go beyond the moment, and truly bolster safety in schools. The answer lies in following the data to create safe, nurturing environments where every school and student has enough to thrive, regardless of background or zip code.
“In going back on their previous measure, Denver Public Schools is taking a shortcut and pushing back real solutions. This is a hard truth for Denver Public Schools (DPS) to hear, but this choice will put students in danger. The data suggests that police assaults against students have increased over time, even with the return of students after remote learning due to Covid.
“In order to meet students’ needs, we have to face the complexity of this problem and make sure that we’re keeping a safe environment for all students and that no one is left behind. That means increasing mental health resources, support, training and resources for teachers, and approaches that meet every student’s needs without criminalizing them.
“Moreover, we need to be looking at the root of the problem. If we really want to make schools safe, we can’t just out-police ourselves because it’s politically expedient. There is no approach where cops can do the job of teachers or mental health specialists. We have to look at what students are going through and what they’re grappling with and give them the resources they need.”
A recent report provides data analysis of 285 police assaults of students, painting a clear picture of how school police bully, abuse and traumatize Black and Latino students and prevent them from learning.
- Over 80% of victims in school police assaults were Black students, with 11% being Latino in cases where race was identified.
- The most frequent type of assault included multiple forms of police force used in the same incident. Sexual assaults were observed in almost 10% of cases
- Police faced no consequences for harming students in well over half of recorded incidents.