Denver’s largest college adds parent patrols to boost safety

DENVER — At least one Denver Public Schools (DPS) campus is taking charge when it comes to school safety and security.

McAuliffe International Middle School principal Kurt Dennis announced on Friday that parent volunteers will guard the entrances to the school and that adults wearing yellow vests will help monitor and secure the exterior of the building.

“I’m in favor of a first step,” said Becky Nemec, who has one child at McAuliffe and another at Park Hill Elementary.

The parent patrols come in response to recent school violence, particularly the shooting at East High School last month, just 2.5 miles from McAuliffe.

“I don’t think there is an easy solution to this problem,” Nemec said. “I like that Principal Dennis is a bit more holistic in that he has parents there to watch the doors and make sure only the students need to be there.”

“I was the area executive director overseeing McAuliffe,” said Vernon Jones, who has two children in Denver Public Schools. He praises Dennis for taking action.

“Kurt is looking forward to having a safe building,” Jones said. “If he allows safety to be put on the back burner, that’s 1,600 children, plus staff, whose lives are vulnerable every day.”

Parents say it’s a step in the right direction, but their school, like others, has discipline issues that are much more systemic – like teachers who are afraid to discipline students who act out and disrupt the learning environment.

Denver’s largest college adds parent patrols to improve safety and surveillance around campus

“Exactly,” said Nemec. “I mean, I feel like the district policies, like the disciplinary matrix they have, have basically normalized bad behavior.”

Nemec, Jones and other McAuliffe parents told Denver7 on Monday that the entire DPS school board had to go.

“I think Dysfunction is a good title right now,” Jones said. “You are just a dereliction of duty, from the board down.”

“Oh, 100%,” Nemec said. “I really feel like we need to call the whole board back.”

Many parents also believe that a School Resource Officer (SRO) should be part of increased security in the future at McAuliffe.

“As long as it is implemented with care and consideration,” Nemec said. “As a parent watching at the door, I will not pat down students. I still don’t feel comfortable with administrators groping students. »

As part of the new safety plan, McAuliffe students are no longer allowed to wear hoodies. Security cameras and mental health services were also added.

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