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Parents and community weigh in on SRO proposals for Denver Public Schools

Community weighs in on SRO proposals for Denver Public Schools
Community weighs in on SRO proposals for Denver Public Schools 02:01

The topic of whether to have school resource officers at Denver Public Schools and at what capacity, is up for debate again.

Three board members, Auon'tai Anderson, Scott Esserman, and Michelle Quattlebaum, announced a new proposal on Wednesday that would include creating community resource officers (CROs), who are assigned to regions rather than specific schools. 

On the other hand, board member Scott Baldermann also released a proposal that would call for new policies that establish when SROs are necessary on school property. 

Parents and community members have mixed feelings about the new proposals.

"I think Denver public school is pulling every which way," said Arturo Orozco, a DPS parent. "We do need people who can fight fire with fire."

Orozco's daughter is a student at North High School. He says having SROs indefinitely would ease a lot of parents knowing an officer is on campus.

"If there was an instance of crime inside the school, the response time would be cut," he told CBS News Colorado. "We'll have somebody there, we'd feel a lot more safer, and I think that would save more lives."

But others believe the position needs to be reimagined and the community should be at the forefront of the conversations.

"I think although we're kind of taking a step back, I feel like what they're proposing is a little bit of a step forward, in terms of kind of meeting in the middle," said Jessica Godinez, a program manager at Movimiento Poder. "In terms of what Anderson proposed, I think we align more with that, in terms of the community component."  

Movimiento Poder was part of the 2020 resolution to remove SROs from schools. 

Data gathered by the organization showed that not having SROs in schools reduced ticketing and the criminalization of black and brown students, helping lessen the school-to-prison pipeline. 

That's why Godinez says they want that community engagement piece to be a key component in the new proposal that's picked.

"I think we should get creative  in reimagining a new society that doesn't need SROs or policing," she said. "Where can actually really include mental health resources, more social workers, more counselors."

Board members are expected to discuss these two proposals on Thursday.

According to Anderson, the superintendent has directed the board to make the final decision on these policies.  

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