As Denver Public Schools promised more school security after shooting at East High School on March 22, Cherry Creek Schools assured parents that school resource officers and other measures have already been in place in the Arapahoe County district.
In a letter to parents on March 23, Superintendent Christopher Smith said nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of students and staff.
“As educators, we think every day about how we can keep our schools safe,” he said. “The district continues to review our security plans as we do on a regular basis. We continue to work with our partners in law enforcement and school safety experts to ensure the district is prepared for any possible threat.”
Smith went on to list how the Cherry Creek School District has handled security measures. These measures include:
- There are district security coordinators and school resource officers (SROs) at all high schools, and security teams and SROs patrol and support all elementary and middle schools.
- In case of an emergency, school building leaders and security personnel have radios that connect directly to district security and dispatch. Smith said the district is installing emergency intercom systems with automated lockdown capabilities in every school.
- All front entry doors in elementary and middle schools are locked at all times. Anyone entering the building must buzz in at the main entrance and report to the office.
- At the high school level, all students are required to wear ID badges and visitors to the campus must check in with security.
- As part of the 2020 bond, the district is installing secure vestibules in all elementary and middle schools. The district has completed installing thumb bolt latches on all classroom doors.
Smith said Cherry Creek is the first school district in the country to implement the Redbag program, which puts emergency Redbags in every classroom that include life-saving first aid supplies and a QR code that lets dispatch check in with classrooms during a lockdown.
Smith also encouraged the community to help keep students and schools safe by utilizing www.safe2tell.org, which allows people to anonymously provide tips about prospective threats.
In taking over as the new superintendent of the Elizabeth School District in Elbert County, Dan Snowberger also encouraged the use of Safe2Tell. Snowberger said with every shooting and incident, someone somewhere usually knows something.
Snowberger said if utilized correctly, tools like Safe2Tell are a valuable resource for the community and school districts.
In the March 22 shooting in the Denver Public School District, reports say the student who allegedly shot two deans had to be patted down regularly for weapons. According to local authorities, the student shot two staff members who were patting him down that morning. One of the staff members was treated and released for a gunshot wound, while the other remains in serious condition in a hospital.
The student later drove to Park County where authorities say they found his body.
The 17-year-old was on probation for a weapons charge stemming from a 2021 incident at Overland High School in the Cherry Creek district.
According to the Cherry Creek School District, the student was disciplined for violating board policy during the 2021-22 school year, and subsequently removed from the district.
After the shooting at East High School, where students have been voicing concerns and holding demonstrations over continued violence, the Denver district’s superintendent vowed to have school resource officers assigned to high schools.
School resource officers were removed in 2021 after a 2020 vote by the Denver School Board.