Denver school board recording shows turmoil after East high shooting
The day after the March shooting at East High School, tensions flared in a closed-door meeting where the Denver school board and superintendent pointed fingers in a conversation about school safety.
Why it matters: A recording the district released Saturday after four-months of trying to keep it secret offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes into dysfunction on the board and division on the issue of returning police officers to schools.
- Vice president Auon'tai Anderson, a lead supporter of removing school resource officers in 2022, said he was scared for his personal safety and received emails demanding he resign.
- Marrero expressed frustration that the board seemed unconcerned about the wellbeing of the faculty shot. He also said he was facing pressure to step down.
What he's saying: "People are calling for my resignation because I am pro-cop all of a sudden," Marrero said in the meeting. "I have a career beyond this. 50% of the districts won't see me from here on out."
Zoom in: Board members expressed concern about returning officers to school, despite community demand. "I think that the community is clamoring for SROs," Carrie Olson said. "And we all know that is not the answer."
- Scott Esserman added, "We can't simply respond with SROs. It's the easy response. It's the convenient response. But it can't be the only response."
- Michelle Quattlebaum said that if DPS moved to bring back SROs, "it needs to be thoughtful. They can't come back the way they were."
Of note: The board voted to reinstate officers June 15 with three members — Anderson, Esserman, and Quattlebaum — opposed.
The bottom line: The recording shows the discussion of public business, despite taking place in executive session, which is what a Denver judge determined in a ruling ordering its release.
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