Denver school board commits to ensuring schools are safe spaces post-election

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A rally held by high school students in Ruby Hill after a multi-school walk-out. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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A rally held by high school students in Ruby Hill after a multi-school walk-out. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

By Melanie Asmar

The Denver school board unanimously passed a resolution Thursday affirming the school district’s goal to celebrate diversity, cultivate safe spaces and “act quickly to prevent and address any and all issues of discrimination and harassment in our schools.”

“We recognize that national events and the current political climate have caused uncertainty and anxiety for many in our communities,” the resolution states.

“In these times,” it continues, “we recognize that our mission is more critical than ever because we believe that education can help us bridge our differences and can help bring us together around respect and understanding rather than fear.”

After last week’s election of Donald Trump, many Denver students showed up to school upset and scared about what his presidency might mean, especially for undocumented immigrants.

Teachers worked to reassure their students. Students expressed themselves in writing, at impromptu school assemblies and in a series of walkouts last week and this week. In an attempt to answer students’ and parents’ immigration questions, Denver Public Schools produced a fact sheet in four languages and asked school leaders to distribute it to families.

“I am so thankful for the adults working in our system who wrap themselves around our kids, make them feel safe, allow their voices to be heard and take care of them,” board president Anne Rowe said in a statement. “I strongly support this resolution. This is something that we have committed to every day.”

A DPS spokesman said the resolution was not in response to an uptick in bullying, as has been reported in some school districts across the country.

Read the full resolution here.

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