Denver Police officers who patrol the city's schools will get yearly training on student rights and when to leave certain disciplinary issues to school administrators, according to an agreement recently signed between the department and Denver Public Schools.
Officers will also be trained in such topics as teen development and psychology, how to improve school climate and when to rely on "restorative justice" over citations and criminal charges.
The agreement arose out of student concerns that school resource officers were writing too many citations for minor problems. The document tells officers to intervene with a citation only when it is absolutely necessary and leave most behavioral problems to educators, who can prescribe disciplinary actions without that does not involve suspensions or expulsions. "It's having discipline be discipline, and violations of the law be violations of the law," Denver Police Chief Robert White said.
The agreement renews and expands one drafted in 2004 and comes at a time when several mass shootings have put school security in the national forefront.
Superintendent Tom Boasberg said safety remains a priority, but "restorative justice" ensures that students will have a chance to learn from their mistakes while staying on the path to graduation.
"It can't just be, more security, more security, more security," Boasberg said. "It's a recognition that a more holistic approach is most effective."