Students from East High School and West High School call for gun control measures to be considered by state lawmakers Thursday, March 23, 2023, during a rally outside the State Capitol in Denver. A shooting left two administrators injured at East High School on Wednesday, one of a series of gun-related events at the school in the past six weeks. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

AURORA | Officials in APS said they could not comment on whether any students had safety plans similar to those of the East High School shooting suspect, who was under an agreement to be patted down for weapons before entering the building each day.

The Cherry Creek School District currently does not have any students that are searched daily for weapons, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

The shooting, which sent two school administrators to the hospital, prompted the DPS school board to reverse course and allow the superintendent to station up to two armed police officers at each high school for the remainder of the school year. The board had previously voted in 2020 to phase out its school resource officer program.

However, the law enforcement agencies that provide school resources officers to Aurora schools said that searching a student would be the responsibility of the schools except for under specific circumstances.

“Our SROs are not the ones who would administer pat downs,” said Aurora Police Department spokesperson Sydney Edwards.

If a student has a safety plan, it’s the responsibility of school officials to implement it. Police can conduct a search if there is a credible threat that a specific student is armed but “officers can’t just pat down students every day just because,” Edwards said.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, which provides school resources for Eaglecrest High School, also does not participate in safety plans.

“We don’t instigate that stuff, we help the school out but we’re not the driving force behind those safety plans,” spokesperson Ginger Delgado said.

She described the school resource officers as serving in a peacekeeping capacity.

“If Denver had them, it might have deterred something like that — we don’t know,” she said.

Who should be responsible for searching students is a source of disagreement. Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said last week that he would not want his officers to conduct searches, and DPS superintendent Alex Marrero said district employees will continue to be responsible for them, according to reporting in Chalkbeat Colorado.

However, National Association of School Resource Officers Executive Director Mo Canady told Chalkbeat he did not think it was fair to require civilians to conduct weapons searches. 

“That’s a law enforcement role, that’s what we’re trained to do, and we know how to handle the gun if one is found,” he said.

Both Aurora districts said that student privacy regulations barred them from providing information about any individual safety plans.

APS spokesperson Corey Christiansen provided a link to the district’s policy on searches and arrests of students.

“The principal or one authorized by the principal may request a search on school premises be conducted by a law enforcement officer,” the policy reads. “When law enforcement authorities are involved in the search, the search will be conducted under criminal law standards rather than under the provisions of this policy.”

Safety plans are not uncommon for students to have, and are a part of both APS and CCSD’s standard security protocols. However, Franci Crepeau-Hobson, a University of Colorado Denver professor specializing in school violence prevention, said that daily pat downs are rare.

“Clearly they were concerned,” Crepeau-Hobson told the Associated Press. “I can’t imagine they’d do that if there wasn’t a history of the kid carrying a weapon.”

Cherry Creek spokesperson Lauren Snell said that the goal of safety plans are “to ensure the wellbeing of the student involved and also to protect the safety of other students and staff at the school.”

“We do have the authority under policy to do pat-downs with student safety plans,” she said in an email. “However, it is not typical that we utilize pat-downs as part of student safety plans. Components of student safety plans could include random searches of persons and belongings, restrictive scheduling, or checking in with students on a regular basis.”

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  1. “The principal of Denver’s largest middle school tells 9NEWS his school must also perform daily pat downs on a student charged with, among other things, attempted first-degree murder and illegal discharge of a firearm.”

    Denver parents, wake up. This is what you get when you place the welfare of your children behind the woke ideology of the left. The chickens are coming home to roost. And you are responsible for voting racist ideologues like Tay Anderson and Jennifer Bacon (now state rep) onto the board of DPS.

  2. Democrats invited the wolves into the hen house with open doors and are shocked they came in

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