The City of Aurora will use student data and information from local schools to help curb violence and support at-risk youth.
“Our goal is to identify youth who are having some behavioral concerns in school, potentially facing truancy, and get the resources to them and their families before they continue down a path that may not be ideal,” said Joseph DeHerrera, manager of Aurora Youth Violence Prevention.
Earlier this year, the City of Aurorato tackling youth violence. Aurora S.A.V.E (Standing Against Violence Everyday) uses a focused deterrence model to reduce violence. It’s focused on offenders ages 15 through 25 who have committed minor crimes or have ties to criminal groups.
According to the city, the purpose of sharing student data and information is to reduce and prevent youth violence by identifying trends and connecting students to services that will mitigate existing risk factors. This will apply to Aurora Public Schools and Aurora schools in Cherry Creek School District.
“We want to be on the prevention side, rather than engaging with those youth three or four months, or even a year down the road, when they could have potentially been intercepted before they committed something more violent,” explained DeHerrera.
The city will establish a referral and case management process to provide services to students who are identified as at risk or high-risk youth.
The school district will provide current and historical data, including student ages, offenses, zip codes, and other general demographic information for the following areas: truancy, chronic absences, expulsions, and disciplinary data.
After receiving a release of information, the district will provide the names, contact information, grades, attendance, behavior reports and disciplinary data for students who are receiving case management services.
“Maybe they’ve missed a certain number of days, maybe they’re not completing assignments, or they’re engaging in fights or disruptive behavior. We want to know just about that,” said DeHerrera. “We’re here to help. We’re not here in any punitive way. We’re not here in a disciplinary way. We just want to provide the resources for the youth and their families.”
The city hopes the partnership will provide another tool for the districts, in addition to school counselors and staff. While the city will encourage families to take advantage of the offered support, they will not be required to accept it.
“It could be just sitting down and having a meeting with the family and saying, ‘Hey, we have noticed a certain amount of behavior, or we’ve noticed certain things. We want to provide an alternative for that.’ Maybe it’s engaging them in some type of programming, so they can build their own network that pulls the youth away from some of that,” said DeHerrera.
They will ensure student identities and personal information is secure and will not publicly disseminate any data or information received without expressed approval.
“We wanted to have an agreement like this in place so we can securely share that information and not have it be sent just through a normal email capacity or something like that, because we do want to protect these youth,” said DeHerrera.
The city will provide the districts with updates on the status and progress of students receiving support.