Movimiento Poder Asks to Join Lawsuit Challenging Denver Public School District Board of Education’s Behind-Closed-Door Reversal on Police Free Schools
DENVER,CO– Today, on behalf of Movimiento Poder, Advancement Project and Eric Maxfield Law, LLC asked the Denver District Court to allow it to intervene, or join, in a lawsuit over the Denver Public School District Board of Education’s closed-door decision to suspend a policy prohibiting police in schools (the “Police Free Schools policy”). This reactionary decision came about in response to a tragic school shooting at East High School in Denver, and allows police in schools through June 2023. Movimiento Poder, a grassroots organization led by Denver parents and students who have organized for decades to build real community-based safety as well as healthy, equitable schools for all students, led the charge to win the Police Free Schools policy with a unanimous School Board vote in 2020.
The lawsuit The Denver Post, et. al. v Stacy Wheeler is brought by a News Media Coalition of six news media outlets over the District’s illegal executive session on March 23, 2023, when it made this closed-door decision. Through this legal action, the parties are requesting to have the recording of this session released to the public. The proposed intervenor, Movimiento Poder, seeks to join the case as a community organization representing Denver students and families who were shut out of the decision making process.
“For three decades, Movimiento Poder has worked to ensure a safe, nurturing environment for every student in Denver Public Schools. Real safety in our schools requires community-driven policies that do not continue to criminalize and harm our students of color.” states Elsa Bañuelos-Lindsay, Executive Director of Movimiento Poder. “In 2020, the District committed to undoing the systemic racism in the district and to an inclusive process for creating safety. Unfortunately, this latest behind-closed-doors move is just another example of how the community has been shut out from the work to create the schools our young people need. We call on the District to do the hard work in creating its long-term safety plan, and to not revert to its reactionary tactics.”
“This closed door reversal of the District’s Police Free Schools policy not only violates the law, it sets a dangerous precedent that School Board members, who are elected by and accountable to community members, can make decisions without them. Superintendent Marrero and the Denver School Board must be held accountable,” states Katherine Dunn, Program Director of Advancement Project’s Opportunity to Learn Program and co-counsel for the intervenor. “We continue to stand with Movimiento Poder and Denver families who are being shut out of the decision making process. Superintendent Marrero and the Denver School Board have the opportunity to engage the real experts in what they need to be safe at school – students, families, and educators. These experts have been demanding Police Free Schools and calling on the District to actually invest in the supports and resources that will make schools truly safe.”
Read the complaint and motion to intervene here.
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Movimiento Poder (MP) is led by working-class Latine immigrants, youth, women, families and queer folks. MP builds collective power through community organizing, leadership development and civic engagement.
Advancement Project is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org to learn more.