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

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Justin Martinez and friends in 2007.
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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11 comments
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Iluvlarz
Iluvlarz

Justin was a good guy he was fun to be around and was no thug. He was respectful and caring. He will be missed. I cant believe i will never see him again. So sad

Jared Martinez
Jared Martinez

Miss you brother always thinking of you and never wont stop you and dad are in my memory and guardian angels.

Angelina G
Angelina G

Justin was a good kid then and a good person as an adult. Let it be known that he was not killed by gang violence. He was killed violently and this story should be the one written. Why is it that his killers were let to roam the streets? Why is it that someone can be murdered and the Denver Police fail to call to action? Why is it that a journalist choses to write this POS article when there is opportunity to cover a real story? Patricia Calhoun and the editor who let this article be published should be ashamed and owe his family an apology. A human being just died and should not be compared to the school he attended being shut down. Shame on DPD, Patricia Calhoun and Westword.

Kelly Williams
Kelly Williams

I agree, this type of "sensationalsim" should not be allowed to go to press.  Just assuming someone was killed due to gang activity, when they were not even in a gang is simply stated in one word.....WRONG!!!  Comparing the school to this young man's  unfortuante demise is also a travesty!  James has done amazing things with this school, and who knows the number of kids he saved from a life of poverty.  I am sorry for Justin's family, and also to James for the horrible desicration of an amazing school!! 

Randy Vigil
Randy Vigil

R. I. P - Justin Martinez: gone but never forgotten - loved and forever missed - may our Lord help ease this pain we all are going through - it's almost like a bad dream we can't wake from - sad days ahead! Will never be the same with out Justin in our lives!

Josefina
Josefina

Where did they get their resources? Or did they just assume gang violence? This is a horrible article and should never had been published until they got the facts straight!! I'm appalled. RIP Justin, You will be deeply missed.

Tanya Gutierrez
Tanya Gutierrez

Justin was a good person and should be remember by that and how he loved his family and friends and was not in a gang!

Santiago Lopez
Santiago Lopez

Thank you Patricia for responding to the families' feedback so quickly.

Jared Martinez
Jared Martinez

On the behalf of his lil Bro Jared and family. reading this artical was upsetting due to false information. Knowing my brother Justin Lee Martinez, I speak for him and he did not leave us by gangs. But I would appreciate and in Memory of Justin Lee Martinez. Please I ask delete and remove all untrue information. And would Like to be run by anything abt him before releasing To the public.

Trace Danger Faust
Trace Danger Faust

And the award for most insensitive headline of the year goes to...

Randy Vigil
Randy Vigil

I dislike that you put down Justin died by gang violence, when the dictectives have not even finished their investigation. What's that saying about folks who assume!?

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