School is in session tomorrow, 4/18: Important Message From Superintendent

Posted: Apr 18, 2019

Dear DPS Community,

 

It has been a long 24 hours, but as you know by now, the “credible threat” to schools in the Denver metro area is over. The FBI has confirmed that the suspect was found dead this morning in the mountains west of Denver.

 

Thank you to our law enforcement community for their work and proactive steps to keep all of our children safe. Thank you to the neighboring school districts for their partnership as we worked to communicate accurately and quickly with families.  Thanks also to our teachers and staff who support our students in tense moments. As you know, safety is always the highest priority.

 

Our schools will be open tomorrow and after school school activities will resume with heightened safety and security measures in place.  Denver Public Schools (DPS) and the Denver Police Department (DPD) announced that we are working very closely this week to keep schools safe. Law enforcement officers from DPD and the DPS Department of Safety will have increased visibility of safety personnel on and around school campuses, including after school and athletics events.

 

These kinds of incidents are stressful for all of us, but especially for our children. All of our schools have mental health teams who are available to support students. Our crisis team will also be available to support any schools–district, innovation or charter–where a team needs additional support processing this event.

 

We have compiled the resources here to help you talk about frightening events with children, including a helpful handout in multiple languages for parents, families and educators.

 

When talking to kids about events like the one we experienced today, here are some important points to remember:

  1. Reassure children that they are safe.
  2. Make time to talk.
  3. Keep conversations age appropriate.
  4. Review safety procedures.
  5. Observe children’s emotional state.
  6. Limit television viewing of these events.
  7. Maintain a normal routine.

It is important to note that most threats our security team investigates come because of the relationships that have been built between the children and adults in our schools, through students reporting concerns in person or through reporting systems such as Safe2Tell. If your children have concerns, please encourage them to talk to a school counselor, call Safe2Tell at 1-877-542-7233 (SAFE), or go online at https://safe2tell.org. Reports can be made anonymously, and Safe2Tell posters can be found here.

You can also call the Department of Safety at 720-423-3911, and Family and Community Helpline staff are also available to address concerns at 720-423-3054 or FACE@dpsk12.org.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience during these trying times.  As with any incident of this kind, we are debriefing our response and always looking for ways to improve.

 

Please take a moment to hold your loved ones close, and on this 20th anniversary of Columbine, keep the family members of the victims in your thoughts.

 

Warm regards,

Susana