UNITED STATES NEWS

Teachers press school safety in wake of Denver shooting

Mar 24, 2023, 2:21 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm

DENVER (AP) — Colorado teachers flooded into the state Capitol Friday to press for better protections for students and school staff after a 17-year-old Denver student shot two administrators, fled to the mountains and killed himself.

Roughly 1,500 teachers and their supporters called for improved school security, more mental health support and tighter gun control measures, adding to pressure on lawmakers a day after students and parents converged at the Capitol to make similar demands.

School shootings are becoming increasingly frequent in the U.S., and teachers at the rally voiced the fears they feel during safety lockdowns that are now regular occurrences.

They also raised questions about the circumstances surrounding Wednesday’s shooting at East High School, which came as the boy was being patted down for weapons, a daily requirement because of his behavioral issues including a pending firearm charge, according to school officials.

Some East High School teachers at Friday’s rally said they did not know any students at the school were being regularly patted down until the shooting.

“I want to go into a building every day where I don’t need to ask if my kids are getting a pat down because I know nobody is bringing guns into the school,” said English teacher Josh Garfinkel.

Schools were canceled Friday in Denver in response to the shooting. Officials have said they’ll put armed officers into city high schools through the remainder of the school year, reversing a policy enacted just a few years ago in response to protests over racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd by police.

The teachers Friday gathered on the steps in front of the Colorado capitol for speeches and chants, then circled the building as some played brass instruments and drums before filing inside.

Elementary school teacher Raegan Haines said she’s had three lockdowns at her school this year. She said lawmakers need to make it harder to access guns.

“You think, what am I going to do with these kids? How can I keep these kids quiet? Who am I going to put my body in front and why do I have to make that choice?”

She added that when the teachers entered the Capitol, “we had to walk through metal detectors and everything is plated in gold. We don’t get that same sense of security at schools.”

Colorado Democrats hold majorities in both state chambers and have made gun control a priority.

Pending bills would expand who can petition to temporarily remove a firearm from someone who poses a danger, raise the minimum age to possess a firearm from 18 to 21, require three-day waiting periods after buying guns, and ban semi-automatic firearms.

The semi-automatics ban is unlikely to find traction. The fate of the others could fall to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. He’s supported expanding red flag laws but not specifically endorsed raising the age to possess guns or the three-day waiting period.

Teachers said their students also face more mental health problems and not enough social workers or psychologists to help.

At East High School, about a half-dozen psychologists and social workers at East High must take care of 2,500 students, said Kristy Skarphol, a math teacher at the school. This year they’ve also been reaching out to teachers who might be struggling amid all the lockdowns.

“We’re just spread way too thin for what we need,” Skarphol said.

___

Associated Press reporter Matthew Brown contributed from Billings, Montana.

___

Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

United States News

Associated Press

Man who attacked police with hockey stick during Capitol riot gets over 3 years in prison

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former military officer who assaulted police officers with a hockey stick and a sharp metal pole while he stormed the U.S. Capitol was sentenced on Wednesday to more than three years in prison. Michael Joseph Foy, 33, threw the pole at police and struck officers with the hockey stick as a […]

11 minutes ago

Associated Press

Hunter Schafer was among protestors arrested during President Joe Biden’s appearance on ‘Late Night’

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Hunter Schafer was among dozens of war protestors arrested at NBC’s headquarters in Manhattan during President Joe Biden’s appearance on “Late Night with Seth Myers” earlier this week, organizers confirmed Wednesday. The 25-year-old “Euphoria” star was part of a group of more than 100 demonstrators who packed the lobby at […]

25 minutes ago

Associated Press

Florida Senate unanimously passes bill to define antisemitism

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Antisemitism would be defined in Florida law under a bill the Senate unanimously passed Wednesday after its sponsor warned that an increase in acts against Jewish people will lead to extremism against other groups. Florida is among several states seeking to define antisemitism. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a similar […]

27 minutes ago

Associated Press

Officials describe how gunman killed 5 relatives and set Pennsylvania house on fire

EAST LANSDOWNE, Pa. (AP) — Four of the five family members found dead in a house fire near Philadelphia were fatally shot by an adult male relative who also killed himself after setting fire to the home, authorities said Wednesday. The youngest victim, a 10-year-old boy, was not shot but died of smoke inhalation, Delaware […]

40 minutes ago

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in ...

Associated Press

Mitch McConnell will step down as Senate Republican leader after record run

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who maintained his position of power for almost two decades, will step down as Senate Republican leader November.

44 minutes ago

FILE - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks during a press availability on Capitol...

Associated Press

McConnell will step down as the Senate Republican leader in November after a record run in the job

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving Senate leader in history who maintained his power in the face of dramatic convulsions in the Republican Party for almost two decades, will step down from that position in November. McConnell, who turned 82 last week, announced his decision Wednesday in the well of the Senate, a place […]

58 minutes ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Teachers press school safety in wake of Denver shooting