Boulder Valley School District

Board of Education hears recommendations regarding role of police officers in BVSD

Lights on top of a police car (file photo)
Randy Barber

On Tuesday, during the Board of Education special meeting, board members heard recommendations from both the District Accountability Committee and Equity Council regarding the role of School Resource Officers in BVSD.

WATCH: Special Board of Education Meeting | October 20, 2020 | Discussion on the role of School Resource Officers in BVSD (in English) | Spanish transcript

As you may recall, this process began in June when the district committed to having a community conversation about the role of police officers in our schools, as part of our efforts to create a more equitable and welcoming school district, especially for our students of color.

The BVSD Board of Education asked the District Accountability Committee (DAC) to take up the issue. Simultaneously, BVSD Superintendent Dr. Rob Anderson brought in the Colorado Education Initiative to create the Equity Council, made up of a diverse group of BVSD stakeholders to do the same.

“It was a great honor to have the opportunity to speak into some of the issues that our community is grappling with and that Boulder Valley School District is so thoughtfully approaching,” explained BVSD parent Rebecca Vlasin, who was one of the 40 people chosen out of more than 900 applications to serve on the Equity Council. “I’m inspired by the fact that this Equity Council is, I believe, the first in Colorado that a school district has convened. To be a part of that as a parent was really meaningful.”

The committees went about their work separately, but ultimately came together. Not only did both groups present their recommendations to the Board on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, but their findings were virtually identical.

DAC Recommendations

The District Accountability Committee voted on Tuesday, October 6 (video of SRO conversation begins at 1:13:00), to present the recommendations below to the Board of Education:


  1. The DAC recommends the district end the existing SRO program and remove SROs from all district schools. The district should work with community partners, including local law enforcement, to devise community-supported school safety plans as mandated by state law

  2. The DAC recommends expanded use of culturally competent, trauma-informed health professionals (mental health, public health, substance abuse, etc.) in schools and an increased use of existing proactive intervention and prevention programs. The DAC encourages BVSD to seek out partnerships with community organizations providing similar services to offset costs.

  3. The DAC recommends BVSD improve transparency, accountability and equity in disciplinary practices. To improve transparency the district, including the DAC and SACs, should review the qualitative and quantitative data generated in Infinite Campus annually.

A full version with DAC’s justifications can be seen on the DAC website.

Equity Council Recommendations

The Equity Council met on Monday, October 19 to finalize its recommendations to the Board of Education, which are as follows:

  1. Current SRO Program:

    • End the current SRO partnership and remove SROs from all school buildings.

  2. Safety Moving Forward:

    • Future non-emergency issues and/or mental health concerns should be internally managed from within BVSD

    • External safety concerns and threat of death or serious bodily harm are excluded

    • Any future safety staff should be a BVSD employee with a trauma-informed approach

  3. Student Voice:

    • Student voices, in particular BIPOC and LGBTQIA students, should be elevated in the design and ongoing oversight of future school safety issues

  4. District Support:

    • All BVSD Staff should receive bias and anti-racist training

    • BVSD should expand mental health and trauma informed staff at schools

    • BVSD school staff should regularly review discipline data with senior BVSD leaders

  5. Future Relationship with Police

    • As BVSD navigates any future relationships with the various police departments, a diverse task-force should consist of administrators, teachers, and students and ensure BIPOC and LGBTQIA voices, in particular Black voices, should work to design a MOU that clearly defines any relationship between BVSD and local police departments

  6. Systemic Issues

    • BVSD should create a task force/committee consisting of administrators, teachers, students, parents/community to include BIPOC and LGBTQIA voices, particularly Black and Latinx, to address larger systemic school safety & equity issues through ongoing engagement with this Equity Council, BVSD leadership, and the broader community.

In their recommendations, above, both committees highlight disciplinary issues that have previously been identified in BVSD and the district has committed to addressing. They also focused on the need for more specialized roles that will provide security in our schools, as well as more support for our students. Although we truly value our law enforcement partners and plan to continue to work closely with them in the future, they felt strongly that these roles should be held, instead, by BVSD employees and that they should be well-trained to support students and situations that happen at schools.

“I think it is the spirit of the moment,” said BVSD parent and Equity Council member Amabel Akwa-Asare. “I am not surprised that when you task community groups, which come from a perspective of diversity and equity, that they would come up with a recommendation that really is a statement that speaks to a need for change with law enforcement in general.”


“This wasn’t a decision about SROs it was about expanding our awareness to be more culturally responsive to the needs of students who are particularly acute, said DAC chairman Ralph Frid. “These officers have never been really trained to do the work we really need them to. I can tell you, they were doing valuable work.”  

He says that amongst the individuals that testified before DAC, was a mother who is grateful for a confrontation that her son had with a School Resource Officer, because it helped to alter his course for the positive.

“The problems we have do not originate from SRO officers,” continued Frid. “The symptoms, however, do appear at that juncture and if we are going to help students, we need different skills in the handlers of these children. Training that helps to de-escalate situations and ensures that they are proactive and working with students to prevent issues.”

Members of both committees said that this was a difficult and emotionally charged topic.

“Many voices were at the table,” said Vlasin. There was space for a lot of different perspectives to be heard. We heard from professionals and the voices of students, teachers and principals. We heard from the police, the district attorney’s office and the public defender's office. We really listened and tried to understand the complexity of the issues.”

“The topic is a challenging one, on so many levels. There is no sugarcoating it,” said Akwa-Asare. “It is emotional for folks who have had direct engagements or incidents.”

“There were some terribly moving testimonies,” Frid said. “They so moved the entire membership that when it came time to vote on this DAC voted unanimously.”

Next Steps

During Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Anderson thanked DAC and the Equity Council members for their work. 

“I'm really encouraged that so many people in our community care about this topic and the equity issues that matter to the board and I,” said Anderson. “It’s really great that we had so many folks in our community willing to dig in with us on what was a complicated conversation.

To start the process, the Board of Education is expected to bring a resolution on the matter to its next meeting – on Tuesday, October 27. Board President Tina Marquis indicated that it will lay out the Board’s direction for moving forward, as well as a timeline for us to implement the changes.

The recommendations will undoubtedly require rewriting of district policies and a reallocation of resources, including staff and funding. This is especially difficult during the pandemic, tightening budgets and our ongoing strategic plan work.

“The recommendations that both committees made were in the spirit of keeping kids more safe, but I think there will be more details that need to be worked out as we move forward.” Anderson continued. “We want continued engagement with those most impacted. We want to make sure we do this right above all else.”

Where to Tune In

Join us on Tuesday, October 27 as the conversation continues on this important topic. We broadcast every Board of Education meeting on BV22 (Comcast Channel 22 and livestreamed at 

Public Participation

During the pandemic, we are conducting public comment via Zoom web conferencing.

Anyone interested in speaking must contact the Board of Education Secretary, Laura Shafer prior to noon on the day of the board meeting by sending her an email at or calling 720-561-5114. More information is available on our Board of Education website under “Public Participation.”


We occasionally get questions from community members about why updates about important topics like this SRO conversation or reintroduction are not at the top of the meeting.  

The reason is that Board of Education meetings are relatively formal events. Like City Council or legislature meetings the meeting has a prescribed agenda, which is used at each meeting.

You can find the agenda for each meeting posted in our Board Docs portal at least 24 hours beforehand (we aim for 48 hours, whenever possible). The link is also available via our Board of Education webpage, under “Agendas and Minutes.” This is where you’ll be able to see the resolution, once it is ready to be shared.

Let’s Talk BVSD

We also would encourage you to join the conversation on our Let’s Talk BVSD engagement tool. Currently, we are encouraging everyone to share their experiences with School Resource Officers. By registering and subscribing to our Excellence Through Equity section – you will get updates as this work progresses.


Recent Stories