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Denver school district’s board removed all police two years before high school student shot two administrators

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Denver’s East High School, where a 17-year-old student allegedly shot two administrators on Wednesday morning, was one of dozens of schools in the Mile High City’s education system that removed all school resource officers two years ago over concerns that law enforcement contact with students “directly contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Mayor Michael Hancock said just hours after the shooting that two armed police officers will be stationed at East High School until the end of the school year. 

“It’s also time to return school resource officers in our schools,” Hancock said Wednesday. “Removing them was a mistake and we must move swiftly to correct it. We’re ready to work with DPS, and we all have to step up as a community and be part of the solution.”

The Denver Public Schools Board of Education, which Hancock said will meet on Thursday to address safety concerns in schools, originally passed the resolution in June 2020, arguing that the “overwhelming majority of the incidents that resulted in students being introduced into the criminal justice system at such a young age could have been more effectively addressed by school personnel, restorative practices, or other community-based services.” 

The resolution called for terminating the school system’s contract with the Denver Police Department and completely removing school resource officers by the end of the 2020-2021 school year. 

All seven members of the school board at the time – Auon’tai Anderson, Jennifer Bacon, Scott Baldermann, Angela Cobián, Rev. Brad Laurvick, Barbara O’Brien, and Carrie Olson – voted in favor of the resolution on June 11, 2020, according to local Fox affiliate KDVR. 

Hancock said at a press conference that he is already hearing from some parents in the school district who are “frustrated” and “angry.” 

One man who was in the crowd outside East High School on Wednesday argued that the school board members should be recalled for getting rid of school resource officers, according to the Associated Press. 

“I just want you to be able to do your job,” the man reportedly told one nearby police officer. 

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A spokesperson for Denver Public Schools told Fox News Digital that the board canceled a scheduled meeting for Thursday in favor of an executive session, but the agenda has not yet been decided. 

As of 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time, police were still searching for 17-year-old Austin Lyle, who fled the school after opening fire during a daily search that was part of a “safety plan” he had previously agreed to in order to attend school, officials said. Police said he may be in a 2005 red Volvo XC90. 

Lyle is accused of producing a weapon during that search in an office away from other students and staff, then shooting two administrators. It’s unclear what past conduct made the daily search necessary. 

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Paramedics were already at the school for an unrelated reason and immediately started rendering aid. One of the administrators was in stable condition and the other was critically wounded. 

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