My pupil shared a poem about fearing gun violence. Later that day, he was shot.

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Every single working day in my classroom, I invite students to share with the course a poem that they have penned. This training is a way for the pupils to get to know every single other and the distinct Denvers that we stay in. Park Hill young children share their Park Hill realities. Swansea children share their Swansea realities.

It was in this placing that, back in February, Jose Luis Garcia, wrote the this line: “My city is the sound of gunshots … Its acquiring shot just cuz you had been at the completely wrong put at the completely wrong time.” And then, later on that day, Jose Luis — Luis to his mates — was shot

A man, woman, and young girl smile for the camera. The woman and girl wear flower crowns, and the young girl is carrying an Easter basket.

Andy Bucher, middle, with his relatives.

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The improper place was 17th and Esplanade. It’s just off of the East Significant School campus, where by I educate English and wherever Luis was in 11th quality and a member of the school’s championship-successful soccer group. The incorrect time was during seventh interval. He was in his car and died of his injuries about two months right after the capturing.

We all believed that he experienced created poetry, not prophecy.

Soon after the taking pictures, I fearful that I experienced finished anything improper but understood my only sin was finding youngsters to truly feel secure and share their reality. Luis’ fact was that he feared having shot.

The identical class sat in a circle two days right after the shooting and experimented with to method what we experienced read from Luis. We spoke, cried, and tried out to make feeling of the nonsensical. 

In the weeks that adopted, I discovered myself obsessed with advocacy for modify, these kinds of as bringing back college source officers, or SROs, which had very long been stationed at Denver universities. In June 2020, the Denver faculty board voted unanimously to eliminate officers from Denver public schools. I recall our workers supplying our SRO, Chris Matlock, a standing ovation as we, unfortunately, reluctantly bid him adieu on his final day. I emailed all 6 Denver General public Faculties board associates two of them responded. A person member explained to me dismissively that SROs would never return, and an additional defined that I was mistaken in my hope. 

A couple of months afterwards, I uncovered myself at a gun violence avoidance summit that was hosted by students from East Large College. The students arranged the summit, but the individuals were being politicians and directors.

I recognized halfway via members of Luis’ loved ones arrived in quietly and identified a seat. I was amazed at their attendance, provided what they have to have been going via. When the summit was around, I viewed as his brother, a recent East Substantial School graduate, went up to a college board member who opposes SROs. I listened as he advised the school board member, “If my brother experienced had an SRO to run to, then he might be alive nowadays.” I listened as the college board member responded with, “I’m sorry for your reduction, but …” and then went on to give a bunch of explanations that Luis’ older brother was mistaken.

We all assumed that he had penned poetry, not prophecy.

A couple of months later, I sat through another lockdown as two of my pals and colleagues were being shot by a university student whom they were being patting down as a element of a security program. And even though we have been sitting down in lockdown, the Denver superintendent introduced that he would deliver SROs back again to faculties. The following day, the school board, whose members experienced dismissed the community — and had dismissed Luis’s relatives — at last saw the wisdom in having officers on campus and voted 6- to convey them again for the spring. (Just a several weeks back, a divided school board voted to keep SROs on campus subsequent 12 months and past.)

My college students and I have a very easy wish: security. What I want is for Denver’s faculty board associates to pay attention and not suppose that they know better than college students, academics, and spouse and children associates who have dropped beloved types to gun violence what is greatest for educational facilities. The return of SROs is not the only answer to faculty security. But it is a piece of a puzzle that includes common-perception security designs as very well as discovering alternatives these kinds of as closing the Esplanade in entrance of the college or incorporating metallic detectors. We will need to be open up to new strategies. We need to have to be proactive, not reactive. 

Luis wrote about his worry of staying shot for being in “the mistaken position at the improper time.” May possibly all of our colleges, and East Higher College in unique, stop currently being the erroneous place at the mistaken time. And may possibly we keep in mind Luis not only as a sufferer of violence but also as a scholar, soccer winner, and poet whose words had been painfully prophetic. 

Andy Bucher is an English trainer at East Significant College in Denver. He is a partner and a father. He faithfully follows the Chicago Cubs and semi-faithfully rides his bike.

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