As a parent of 3 teenagers at DHS I wanted to reach out to you to express some of my concerns regarding funding for 9R. I wish to share about an issue on a potential misallocation of funds for athletics, as well as the pressing need for more security measures at our high school.
It has been brought to my attention that the district is looking at ways to cover the cost of the stadium upgrade at DHS, as they are unable to pay the $212,000 annual payment. As I understand it, the coaches fundraising accounts have been frozen and the district is looking at possibly seizing $500-$750 per team to help cover the shortfall. Please know this is not a viable option as the funds in their accounts have already been earmarked for specific items, which the student athletes have worked hard to raise funds for. Additionally, many of the student athletes have raised funds for their teams which never even take place at the DHS stadium. Please don’t take away money that isn’t yours to take.
Regarding school safety for DHS, decisions for change need to be made and our school board members and city council members need to demand this change to take place sooner than later. Unfortunately, Durango has a lot of catching up to do to keep up with the dangers of today’s world. DHS is at a high risk for school violence to occur due to the following factors:
-High rate of depression, bullying, drug use, suicide all which have shown to lead to violence
-Axis mental health and PCC within the DHS campus which increases the risk for safety (multiple adults coming and going)
-It’s the only school within 9R that is unlocked/open school campus (High schools in general are at a higher risk than middle and elementary based on statistics of shootings)
-Locations of DHS (Rank Park plagued with high drug use/sales, Motels across street known for drug use, Easy access in/out off of Main Ave)
While I appreciate some of the security measures that have taken place, it is critical to add the following NOW:
-Armed police officers/ security guards (a minimum of 2 Full time at DHS)
-All outside doors secured and alarmed. Is all someone has to do is knock on a side door and kids let them in. This is a sad fact.
-Vestibule construction prioritized for DHS. (Please do this for DHS first…not an elementary school)
The vast majority of high schools across the country have already implemented these basic changes along with many more layers of protection. It is obvious our district and community lack in funding for such things. It is obvious DHS lacks funding to monitor emotional health of its students, hire sufficient counselors, man the bathrooms and fields for drug/ vaping use. It is obvious the community lacks funding for sufficient police patrolling of the river trail and other high activity areas. The answer is not to throw up our hands and do nothing. The answer is not to say we are doing the best we can and we have it under control. The answer is to be transparent and let the community know exactly what the problems are. Durango has grown exponentially without keeping up with the security measures and accountability of citizens required, to keep Durango the Durango we know and love.
Thank you for your time and consideration,