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Denver Public Schools safety audit completed, cost $489,000

Denver Public Schools release details of safety audit after two deans shot by student
Denver Public Schools release details of safety audit after two deans shot by student 02:02

Denver Public Schools is releasing details of a safety audit ordered a year ago after a shooting at East High School injured two deans.

The school board and community members are reacting to the review of 211 school buildings by an outside contractor – Robinson Corporations Security Group.

School safety was high on the minds of DPS parents last year after three separate shootings at or near East High School.

Denver Public Schools Climate & Safety

At the Board of Education meeting on Thursday, Superintendent Marrero said, "So around a year ago we were asked, there was a deep desire in the community to ensure that our facilities are safe and secure."

The safety audit identified more than 280 "critical vulnerabilities" in district buildings and some 2500 risks that were considered "high". Although the numbers appear to be high, contractor Murphy Robinson said, "You are actually doing a pretty good job. While there are some opportunities, the critical areas are smaller than we expected."

DPS is sharing plans to replace AED machines and expired fire extinguishers, to test duress buttons and to install more security cameras.

DPS Safety Chief Greg Cazzell said, "We're making sure that every building leader has an opportunity to see their report, understand their report, ask questions about their report and understand what the remediation plan is."


"It's all routine maintenance and auditing of systems that has been in place for years," said Melissa Craven, a former leader in the DPS Department of Climate and Safety. She thinks the audit misses the mark.

"What should have been included is what we've all been waiting for, not only as a former employee with the Department of Safety but also as a parent, and it's the reworking of the discipline matrix. That's what we're waiting for and that's what's truly going to improve the safety and well-being of our students and staff," Craven said.

She thinks the current discipline matrix doesn't carry enough consequences for students who engage in acts of violence. And that the costly audit deflects the real issue.

At Thursday's school board meeting, member John Youngquist asked,

"What has been the cost of the contract for the reviews and audits thus far? 

Photo of a blue metal lockers along a nondescript hallway in a typical US High School. No identifiable information included and nobody in the hall.
Thomas Farlow / Getty Images

Cazzell responded, "I don't have an exact number, I believe it's about $489,000 dollars."  Superintendent Marrero said that after the shootings last year, the district was approached by other vendors, and the lowest bid after Robinson was $1.5 million.

DPS has committed to addressing the most critical vulnerabilities in school buildings by July, and to conducting future internal safety audits every two years.

In the audit, school principals said they don't want to be the ones making the call on whether to have weapons detection systems. They say the district safety office should make that call.

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