Denver Classroom Teachers Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2023
Statement from Rob Gould, special education teacher and president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association on McAuliffe International investigation:
“Every student in Denver Public Schools deserves access to a high quality and equitable education with a full complement of wraparound supports regardless of their race, background, or zip code.
“There is nothing more important than ensuring that schools are safe and welcoming environments for all students. Any time a student’s safety is potentially at risk, it is imperative that we treat these concerns with the utmost seriousness, ensuring a comprehensive investigation and proper due process for all involved parties. That is why we support the investigation into incidents at McAuliffe International, just as we would for any school facing a similar situation.
We’ve taken time to connect with staff at McAuliffe as they simultaneously navigate this situation while preparing to support students this week. We commend the McAuliffe staff for their focus on their students during these challenges. During this time, it is important to respect the nature of due process and the investigation. We call on school board members to lead by example, adhere to their policies and respect the rights to due process.
This situation is a symptom of a much larger issue that extends beyond one school. Recent incidents throughout the district have shown that there is a need for more support for our students with significant needs. We must focus more attention and resources into our students with social emotional needs district-wide. When we focus on our most vulnerable students, we uplift all students. To make this happen, we need to invest in the proper training as well as hire and retain qualified individuals to meet the needs of our students. Unfortunately, training for supporting students with significant needs has become less comprehensive over time.
We are pleased to see that the board of education and the district are beginning to prioritize providing additional support for students with affective needs, something we’ve continuously advocated for. We call on the board and the administration to refocus their efforts in creating policy that will give the educators that are supporting students within these situations the tools that they need; this includes manageable caseloads and class sizes.
We remain committed to supporting all students, especially those with the most significant needs. We have a duty to guarantee they receive the necessary support to thrive in the classroom and beyond.”