Denver Public Schools declares Friday a mental health day, cancels classes
After Wednesday's shooting inside East High School in Denver that left two faculty members injured, Denver Public Schools has declared Friday a mental health day and is canceling classes.
The district will have spring break next week, so classes will not resume until the first week of April.
Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero sent out a letter that said the following:
As we learn more about the developments coming out of the shooting that took place at East High School yesterday, I want to extend my heartfelt apologies to the East High School community, and the larger DPS community. No student, employee, or community member should have to carry fear of potential violence when they walk into our buildings each day.
To allow us all to take a moment to pause and process the challenging events this year, including the data breach, tomorrow, March 24, is a non-student contact mental health day for all DPS students and employees. To support families, we will have 14 Discovery Link extended care sites available from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additionally, the district will be providing food pick up locations.
Marrero's letter also includes links and information for people looking for help with mental health issues. The following resources are presented:
Colorado Crisis and Support Line
844-493-8255, or Text TALK to 38255
Resource for mental health, substance use, or emotional crisis help – information and referrals
National Suicide Hotline
24-hour toll-free confidential suicide prevention hotline
Second Wind Fund
Provides free counseling to underinsured and uninsured youth that are suicidal
Trevor Project Hotline
Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth
An anonymous way to report any concern impacting students (phone, app, online reporting options)
I Matter Colorado
Will direct students to an online survey for their needs and connect them to a therapist
The letter also includes TherapyDirect as a reference, which provides "same-day, online crisis counseling service available to adults ages 18+ in the Denver metro area." The first three sessions are free each year.
The letter concluded with a statement from the superintendent to "Please continue to keep the East High School community in your thoughts. Know that we are committed to supporting our entire community during this time."
The suspected shooter of the two East High faculty members, who were both male, was found dead in Park County Wednesday night. He was a student at the school. One of the victims has been released from the hospital and the other was listed as being in serious condition on Thursday.
East High School Principal Terita Walker also sent out a letter on Thursday addressed to her students and staff:
Over the last 24 hours, I've been challenged with finding the right words to use to reach out to you. I want to recognize you for your strength, resiliency and bravery, but also realize how unfortunate it is that these attributes are required of you. I know you are all headed into spring break and it is my hope that you are able to find joy, take time for yourselves, and relieve some of the pressure that you might be feeling. Ultimately, our strength is in our love for this community, so please band together and be there for each other. As your principal, I love and care deeply for you and will continue to dedicate myself to making our school a safer space.
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