DENVER CO June 18 2019— Denver Public Schools (DPS) leaders have approved a new policy to limit how often school resource officers handcuff students.
The policies garnered attention after a parent of a student at a Denver elementary school said his son was handcuffed while at school.
Brandon Pryor said that on April 19, his 7-year-old son was handcuffed at Florida Pitt Waller School after he got in a fight with a classmate.
A report given to the Denver School Board, and partially obtained by 9Wants to Know, shows 58 students have been handcuffed by DPS employees from 2017 to 2019.
“I’m very proud that the board passed the resolution,” said Michael Eaton, the chief of safety at DPS. “It was an opportunity for myself an my team and our legal department … to work together on what is right for kids.”
Anna Alejo, chief communications officer for DPS, said in a statement at the time that handcuffs can be used “only as a last resort” and if there is an “imminent danger.” While she declined to comment on the incident involving Pryor’s son, she said district officials were “reviewing the use of restraints and the training for our security officers.”
The resolution approved Thursday night says no students in elementary school can be handcuffed “unless that student is openly displaying a deadly weapon.”
The resolution also says the district needs to “significantly” limit use for middle and high school students.
“We don’t want to handcuff a child,” Eaton said. “Quite frankly, if a child has escalated to an unsafe manner and we have to utilize handcuffs, there are things that went wrong earlier in the process.”
A board will now review a case anytime a resource officer puts a student in handcuffs and officers will now receive five more days of annual training.