Justin Martinez and friends in 2007.
Justin Martinez and friends in 2007.

Justin Martinez, featured in our Life Skills story, dies; school could go next

Back in 2007, Luke Turf wrote a cover story on Life Skills, the last-chance high school in the Golden Triangle. The piece started out with why nineteen-year-old Justin Martinez had missed school again: He had to go to Pueblo to see his father. In the morgue. Justin went on to graduate high school in June 2009 -- but tragically, it was Justin himself who was in the morgue last week, a victim of violence.

And Life Skills, too, could be facing a death sentence; The school will go to the state board of Education on March 7 to appeal Denver Public Schools's decision to close the school in June 2012. ​ In November, the DPS board voted to shutter the struggling alternative charter school, which had been given a second chance in 2008 after facing the same fate. "I was disappointed that the other board members that voted to close our school really are doing a disservice to our students," principal Santiago Lopez said at the time. "We're working with students that truly were either not in school before -- so the district never had them for a year or more -- or working with students that were directly referred to us from the schools that they're suggesting they go back to."

We'll be following that story; in the meantime, you can read Luke Turf's piece on Justin Martinez and Life Skills here.

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