Police Politics at Rangeview


Landen Norman, News reporter

The increase of police presence in our schools and at Rangeview can be credited to the surge of violence between teenagers in Aurora experiences felt in November of 2021. APS in response to this has had all of their high school campuses closed during lunch since November 29th.  

While many, especially students, have seen this change as an opportunity for tensions to increase in these schools; others have believed it to have been a necessary implementation in stopping this violence. 

Superintendent Rico Munn told 9 News, “What we’ve seen are incidents of violence that have happened outside and what we’ve had are open campuses where kids are allowed to leave (9 News, Nelson Garcia)¨.

While of course closed campuses and increased police and security may have been necessary in curbing this surge of violence, many believe it is important to observe how the presence of law enforcement can cause high-stress situations for both students and staff. It’s only fair to look at the fine lines that can dictate our safety, but also how our perception of law enforcement plays a role. 

To answer these questions, a survey was conducted here at Rangeview with a few narrowing questions to generalize how students are reacting to these policy changes moving into the new year. In a survey of several Rangeview classes, it was asked how they feel about the increased presence of security and officers in and out of our building; 48.9% (22) of students said they felt good while 22.2% (10) of students selected bad. 

The other make-up of the sample clicked other and elaborated on their stance with one student saying “It is stupid to be honest. Like what is the point of it if they are not actually watching the campus. Just having their cars parked outside to seem like they are doing something”. Said one responder. 

Superintendent Rico Munn extended the campus protocol past Dec 15th after it was originally deliberated to be dropped upon our return from break. 

“Personally, it doesn’t affect me much, but I can see why others would be against it. I’m not a fan of cops myself, but I can also understand why they’re here,” said another responder.

Another large concern starting to arise with students not being able to leave campus at lunch is that many feel there has been an increased risk of spreading and catching COVID-19. Even with two lunches there is still not enough space to accommodate all the students at one time during lunch. Rangview’s lunch has been offered free for students to account for those who usually leave. For many students; this has just meant tighter spaces and longer lines.

I feel like it’s pointless, it crowds the cafeteria which could cause a spike in covid cases, and if schools allow kids to go outside, what’s stopping them from leaving?” said an anonymous Raider.

Other students say they´ve felt the only thing the new implementations will do is increase this risk. “Personally, I hate the closed campus rule. It has done absolutely nothing for our safety, and due to the pandemic, it has possibly put students more at risk for contracting Covid-19 which is a safety concern in itself,” said a surveyed student. 

When we asked students, however, if they found it necessary that APS increased security measures following this rise in violence between our peers, 53.9% (28) responded they felt it was and 28.9% (13) of the respondents said they didn’t find it necessary. 

The survey also asked whether students felt like the constant controversy surrounding policing in the news and on social media inherently affected their feelings about the new policies. 35.6% of responses said yes, 17.8% said no, and 45.7% selected maybe. 

Amidst Denver’s commitment to ending the youth violence within our city, Mayor Michael B. Hancock has convened the Youth Violence Prevention Action Table (YVPAT) to deliberate on the resources and actionable measures needed to ‘ support youth violence prevention efforts ‘. The YVPAT`is composed of youth, community, and city leaders who aim to increase communication and information sharing among city agencies, community organizations, and youth to address gaps and opportunities where the city can increase support (denvergov.org)’.

Some believe the incidents that occurred at Aurora Central and Hinkley High School before Thanksgiving Break are isolated. More simply don’t see how the new measures APS recently implemented in the schools are going to help stop this violence. Participants were asked an open-ended question that detailed how they felt about these new policies. 

One anonymous response suggested, “I feel good that they are actually doing something to make the school safer but there are better ways to make that happen and not just for a period of time. For example, enforcing metal detectors for weapons, changing school hours could decrease violence. ACTUALLY setting up programs to support teens to get out of gangs”. 

Many of the responses in the survey mirror the common response in the community in which many have been calling on APS and city officials to help students gain access to the more individualized support they may need. On Jan 3rd however, Aurora’s City Council unfortunately voted against increasing funding for Aurora’s youth violence prevention program.