SCHOOL SAFETY AND YOUTH IN CRISIS
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05:23 PM -- Comments by Michael Roche
Mr. Roche introduced himself and distributed a written statement to the committee (Attachment G). He spoke about his role in the arbitration process, and about the desires of the Davis family and their work with the CSPV. He spoke about his daughter's friendship with Claire Davis, and about the unique nature of the arbitration. He described his gratitude to the officials at LPS who were willing to look at what needs to change. He spoke about the three reports' common ground, and about the need for change in public schools. He said that first, a culture of openness and critical self-evaluation in schools and districts is key. He described the importance of a continuous improvement model that permits schools and districts to examine problems and said that is one of only things that will actually help school violence prevention efforts. He described systemic failings that exist in every school in Colorado, and said that every superintendent in Colorado has received these reports. He said that a statewide problem requires a statewide solution, that LPS has acknowledged for the first time that there were missed opportunities to prevent Claire's death, and that a steady stream of small failures led to a catastrophic result. He said that first, people didn't receive training they needed, or training was flawed, that there was a lack of accountability. He said that nobody was responsible to gather information, put it together, and see the big picture, that the threat assessment was an ad-hoc process, of which no single person had ownership. He said that teachers were not informed about safety concerns with a student in their own classrooms, and that law enforcement, including SROs, did not have access to required information. He explained that when everyone is responsible for safety, no one is. He advocated for the passage of legislation implementing the recommendations listed in these reports.