May 17, 2024

Denver Public Schools safety audit completed at cost of $489,000


Denver Public Schools is releasing details from a safety audit it ordered a year ago after a shooting at East High School left two deans wounded.

The school board and community members are reacting to an inspection of the 211 school building by an outside contractor, Robinson Corporation Security Group.

DPS parents were extremely concerned about school safety after three separate shootings occurred at or near East High School last year.

Denver Public Schools Environment and Safety

“About a year ago we were asked about the strong desire from the community to ensure safety and security at our facilities,” Superintendent Marrero said at Thursday's school board meeting.

The safety audit found more than 280 “significant vulnerabilities” in district buildings and judged about 2,500 risks to be “high.” While the numbers seem high, contractor Murphy Robinson said, “We've actually done a pretty good job. There are some opportunities, but the critical areas are smaller than we expected.”

DPS has announced plans to replace AED devices and outdated fire extinguishers, test emergency buttons and install more security cameras.

“We're making sure that all building managers have the opportunity to view the report, understand it, ask questions about the report and understand what the improvement plan is,” DPS Safety Director Greg Casell said.


“This is all routine maintenance and audits of a system that's been in place for years,” said Melissa Craven, a former leader of DPS' climate safety division, who thinks the audits miss the point.

“What we've all been waiting for, not just as former safety department employees but as parents, is an overhaul of the discipline matrix. That's what we've been waiting for and that's what will truly improve the safety and wellbeing of students and staff,” Craven said.

She believes the current disciplinary system does not punish violent students enough, and that costly audits are a distraction from the real problem.

asked board member John Youngquist during Thursday's school board meeting.

“What have been the contractual costs for reviews and audits to date?

Thomas Farlow/Getty Images

“I don't know the exact figure, but I think it's around $489,000,” Casell replied. Marrero said other contractors had contacted the district after last year's shooting, with the second lowest bid after Robinson being $1.5 million.

DPS has committed to addressing the most significant vulnerabilities in school buildings by July and to conducting internal safety audits every two years going forward.

In the audit, principals said they did not want to have the decision-making power over whether to install weapons detection systems, and that the decision should be made by the district's safety department.

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