DPS Department of Safety

  • DOS photo

    The Department of Safety has some new authority this year to assist in reducing student contact with law enforcement. See the below examples of common questions.

    For general information and contact info, please visit: http://thecommons.dpsk12.org/Page/564

  • Cannabis and paraphernalia disposal.

    The Department of Safety can now take possession and dispose of cannabis products and paraphernalia. Contact dispatch at 720-423-3911 for assistance.

    The process for dealing with student possession or intoxication is outlined in the student intoxication process found below.

    1. Utilize your school’s code of conduct and the District’s discipline policy to help guide your thinking regarding students who may behave in a disruptive fashion regardless of whether or not the disruptive behavior is due to potential substance use intoxication or due to other environmental factors. Policy and Procedure JICH/JICH-R address steps to take if you suspect a student is intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance. 

    2. All staff should:

    • Consider underlying health problems that could mimic intoxication (i.e., diabetes, epilepsy, or other).
    • Document the student's overall observation including: 
      • Odor (i.e., tobacco smoke, sweet, acetone, or other)
      • Speech (i.e., slurred, normal, etc.)
      • Energy level (i.e., wide awake, asleep, groggy, etc.)
      • Appearance (i.e., disheveled, neatly dressed, burn marks on hands, etc.)
      • Ability to recall event/injuries incurred 
      • Type/amount of substance involved 
      • Time/amount of substance exposure (i.e., oral, inhalation, injection, etc.) 

    If the assigned school nurse is available, they should complete and document a physical assessment that includes the:

    • Level of consciousness and orientation
    • Vital Signs 
    • Respiratory effort (rapid, slow, or normal) 
    • Pupils
    • Skin (i.e., diaphoretic, dry, flushed, cool, warm, hot, etc.)
    • Gait

    Based on the outcome of the school nurse’s assessment the nurse will determine if the situation  is non-urgent, urgent, or emergent. The disposition will be determined on a case-by-case basis. 

    In all cases, parents and school leaders will be notified. In a non-urgent case, the student will  remain with the school nurse until parents retrieve the student or it is determined the student is  safe to return to class. In urgent and emergent cases, 911 will be called. 

    If the assigned school nurse is not in the building and staff are concerned about the student’s safety, they should call 911. 

    3. Based on the nurse’s assessment, if the student appears to be under the influence of alcohol,  narcotics, or other dangerous substances, the school nurse should follow procedures outlined by the Department of Nursing and Student Health Services and in Procedure JICH-R. 

    4.Once the nurse completes the assessment, return the case to the Discipline Building Leader for collaboration with michel_holien@dpsk12.org (720-423-2433) or preventionservices@dpsk12.org to determine whether or not an alternative to discipline can be offered.  Not all incidents involving intoxication will result in alternatives to discipline.  Some may result in disciplinary consequences. 

    4a. The DPS Department of Safety can now take possession of marijuana and alcohol. There is no need to contact Denver Police for disposal. You can contact DOS at 720-423-3911.

    5. Incidents in which the student is intoxicated, or in possession at an amount that can be considered personal use (rather than distribution) should be assessed to determine the level of use, and then offered an appropriate intervention as an alternative to traditional disciplinary measures.  Contact the discipline building leader assigned to your school for questions.

    How to assess level of use and provide an intervention

    6. Additional strategies can include providing groups/workshops for students at risk for  substance abuse, providing parent/community discussions on student substance  use/intoxication, teacher trainings on supporting students who are abusing substances, etc.  These strategies and resources are available to all schools for free through the DPS Substance Use prevention Program. 

    In conclusion, please bear in mind that the DPS discipline Ladder/Matrix does not mandate in-school/out-of-school suspension upon a student being at school that appears to be  intoxicated or smelling of illegal drugs.

  • Discipline referrals for conduct at a school event or school sanctioned event that is not at the student's assigned school.

    If the Department of Safety comes into contact with a student at a DPS event, held somewhere other than the student's school of attendance, then the Department of Safety will refer to the Dean at the student's school of attendance to assist with interventions, strategies and restorative practices.