GW High School staff member injured

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Denver Public Schools referenced a photo of the incident and said what it shows has “no place” in the district.

DENVER — A student at George Washington High School is being investigated for second-degree assault related to the assault of a staff member Tuesday, according to the Denver Police Department.

Denver Public Schools said the dean of culture was hurt while attempting to intervene and de-escalate the situation. She was treated at the school and returned to work on Wednesday, the district said.

It all began with an off-campus incident involving two George Washington students. School resource officers or SROs from the Denver Police responded to break up the incident and returned the students to school, the district said.

Once inside, one of the students “bolted,” and that’s when the dean tried to intervene and was assaulted by the student.

After a brief struggle, the 17-year-old student was placed into custody by officers. He’s being held for investigation of second-degree assault. The final determination of charges will be made by the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

DPS referenced a picture related to the incident and said, “The behavior exhibited in the photo taken during this incident photo has no place in DPS. Every student and staff member deserves to learn in a safe environment.”

The photo below was shared with 9NEWS, and a district spokesperson confirmed the photo is the one referenced in their statement.


The district noted that SROs were present and active for the entirety of both the on and off-campus incidents. Citing student privacy concerns, the district said it could not share information about those involved including any discipline they may face. 

The district said they’d follow the district’s discipline policy to the fullest extent possible and that they were cooperating with the police investigation. According to the district’s policy, the discipline process for the “most serious” incidents can often take “days or weeks.”

DPS has seen different levels of acts of violence against staff. 

In March, a student at East High School shot two deans at that school. That shooting, along with a fatal shooting outside the school, prompted the district to bring back school resource officers.

The district school board had voted unanimously in 2020 to remove SROs. After that vote, DPD school resource officers were phased out and the district relied on its own security team.

Rob Gould, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, said teachers are expected meet the requirements of their jobs and also respond to situations outside of their defined skillset.

He said proper funding needs to be distributed to schools across the state to better its mental health resources, so the responsibility doesn’t fall on just educators.

We have all these high expectations of schools, but then we don’t fund them to meet those expectations” Gould explained. “I think that’s where the number one thing we can do to start to tackle this issue. That’s going to require a massive investment of funds to help support mental health for our students but also to help with class size, lower student to teacher ratios so we can meet those individual needs.”

Gould said with more mental health support, violent situations could be less likely to occur. He said in his time as an educator, he experienced being attacked by students. He said for himself, and likely for other teachers in those situations, they know that the aggression toward them is not a direct consequence of something they did.

“There’s fear for yourself, obviously, but there’s concern moreover for the student because you know this young person is going through something traumatic so ‘How do I think through this situation?'” Gould said. “How do I think to help this student through this traumatic moment and come out better on the other side?”

Gould said in a teacher-safety survey, most educators said smaller class sizes and more mental health options would make them feel safer in the classroom.

He said these are the factors that could support less violence in classroom settings.

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GW High School staff member injured

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