Denver Pact on School Policing Stresses Restorative Justice, not Punishment


As communities beef up police presence in schools, Denver may become a national counterpoint, with a new agreement to limit the role of law enforcement at the city's schools, says the Washington Post. The move could mean fewer students will face arrest or citation for disciplinary infractions. Denver's effort comes in an area at the forefront of debates over school violence since the mass shootings at Columbine High School in 1999.

In Denver, leaders from the city's police department and public school system signed an eight-page contract bringing detail to often-murky questions about the police role in schools. The agreement emphasizes differences between student offenses that should be handled by educators and those that need police action, urges de-escalation of campus conflict when possible, and supports “restorative justice” practices that focus on making amends for misconduct rather than punishing for it. Denver Superintendent Tom Boasberg said the move marks a “step forward” for the system of 84,000 students. “We believe that an effective restorative justice approach makes schools safer, helps keep our kids in school and on track to graduation, and makes kids learn from their mistakes and make them right,” he said.

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