One Year After East High Shooting, Students Still Under Pat Down Policy

It’s been a whole year since the sad event at Denver’s East High School. During a routine check for weapons, a student shot two school staff members. Sadly, the student took his own life after a long search by the police.

Even now, one year later, many students are still being checked for weapons. Records from March 2023 showed that 41 students in 29 schools in Denver Public Schools (DPS) needed to be checked. By February 2024, it was down to 34 students. The district says they check students for different reasons, like drugs or weapons, as part of a safety plan.

Heather Lamm, whose son was a senior at East High last year, said, “I think a lot of us were surprised to find out what was happening in our schools.” She added that they didn’t know about the pat down policy until a year ago. Since then, the school district changed how they do searches. Now, armed district patrol officers do the checks instead of school staff.

Lamm explained, “Basically, it means we still check students for weapons if they’ve had trouble with weapons before or if we think they might put others in danger.”

If they’re looking for vape pens or drugs, a school staff member can do the search. But school resource officers can only search if it’s part of a criminal investigation.

Lynne Lee, whose son goes to East High, feels a bit better about his safety now. But she thinks the school needs to handle things differently if they find a weapon. She wants to see changes in how students are disciplined.

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