The DPS Board has betrayed the public trust.
It's Time to Resign
The DPS Board has abdicated its most basic duty: keeping students and staff safe.
Change for our children. Change for our staff. Change for our safety.
they have failed our students and staff
Why Must the Board Resign?
1. School Safety Failures
- The DPS Board is derelict in its obligation to keep our students, teachers, and administrators safe.
- After voting to remove School Resource Officers (SROs) from schools over two years ago, the DPS Board has yet to consider, approve and enforce alternative approaches to keeping students safe. School Board meeting notes/minutes and other documents reveal multiple principals asking for help — to no avail.
- The DPS Board failed to keep track of and implement a system to manage the number of students on “individual safety plans.” (Denver Gazette)
- The DPS Board neither knows nor tracks the number of students with previous weapons violations and/or other criminal records (Denver Gazette)
- The DPS Board repeatedly ignored numerous warnings from its own leaders about school safety. (See Below)
- The DPS Board deflects its school safety decisions by falsely claiming “other law enforcement considerations” preclude board action.
- The DPS Board severely underutilized the two schools in its portfolio specifically equipped to educate potentially disruptive students with criminal backgrounds. According to DPS’s website, Denver Justice High School “targets students who are chronically truant, who have been unsuccessful in a traditional school setting or who have been involved in the criminal justice system.”Similarly, DPS PREP Academy Middle School “welcomes the following learners: students who directly apply; students referred by other schools, the departments of human services or probation; and expelled students.” Yet enrollment at Denver Justice High was down 22 students between the 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 school years. DPS Prep Academy is home to only eight students. enrolled students. This underutilization constitutes a costly disservice to the entire DPS system and a safety risk to the rest of DPS staff and students, including the students who need a specialized learning environment to thrive.
2. Ignored Warnings.
- For years, DPS principals and teachers have sounded the alarm about escalating school violence, gang activity on campus, disciplinary concerns and being forced to accept students into their schools and classes with violent backgrounds.
- On June 11, 2020 SEVENTEEN DPS high school and middle school principals issued a letter that stated “The current resolution calls for eliminating SROs from school campuses with no plan for moving forward.” Inexplicably, the DPS Board ignored the letter.
- In February, 2023, Denver’s DCIS Principal requested a restraining order for a student who texted "About to shoot up the school and only go for the principal only." DPS promptly instructed the Principal that she (not the student) had three resolution options: , Rescind the restraining order request or face paid administrative leave, remote work, or re-assignment. (Next with Kyle Clark, 9News)
- Former Principal John Youngquist wrote multiple letters urging DPS to respond to safety concerns from the East High community, including his September 19, 2022, pleathat reads: “I am anticipating that this will be my fifth unanswered communication to you all regarding school safety in DPS. With the shooting a block from East two weeks ago and the absurd over-reaction to the [SWAT] threat today, my concerns have grown in regard to you and your leadership team's ability to keep our children safe.” Youngquist also put forward, in partnership with community leader Vernon Jones and at the request of DPS, specific safety recommendations the DPS Board ignored until the very recent East High shooting.
- Principal Kimberly Grayson has reported dozens of warnings and requests for help that she sent to DPS during her time at MLK Early College. All were ignored.
- Over his strenuous objections, DPS forced McAuliffe Middle School Principal Kurt Dennis to admit and to perform daily pat downs on a student charged with attempted first-degree murder and illegal discharge of a firearm. (9News)
- DPS hasn’t hired a Chief of Safety and Security since the resignation of Mike Eaton last September. While this hire falls under the Superintendent, the Board has failed to demand a deadline or enforce the urgency of such a hire. This vacancy has led to a lack of accountability and overall confusion in the chain of command within DPS Safety & Security, according to one senior DPS official.
3. Dysfunctional Governance & Leadership.
- The DPS Board has failed to manage its own Superintendent, its budget, and itself. The Board has abysmally failed to provide essential leadership and guidance to DPS families, students,
- The DPS Board habitually abuses its Executive Sessions privileges and violates open meeting laws which provide a critical level of transparency to teachers, school leaders, students and families. (denvergazette.com)
- In its first year, the Board spent less than 2% of its time discussing or debating the troubling student achievement in the district.
- The DPS Board failed to manage the one and only employee it is responsible for hiring, guiding, and directing — namely, the DPS Superintendent. Despite failing to execute an annual review of the superintendent’s job performance, a mere six months into his contract, the DPS Board inexplicably extended the superintendent's contract for two years. The DPS website features no annual review of a DPS superintendent since 2017. The lack of transparency is unacceptable.
- The DPS Board has under-allocated funds to security because it is unable to make hard decisions on enrollment and school closures.
- Despite the Treasurer’s repeated warnings, in November 2021 the DPS Board approved board member compensation, knowing it was over budget and that board member compensation was not a funding priority. It now seeks more compensation.
- The Board has been mired in political infighting and squabbling and has voted twice to censure its own member for serious violations of its code of conduct and executive session policies. (BoardHawk)