Seattle Public Schools leaders, community discuss ways to improve safety

The conversation is filled with urgency from a community looking for more action to keep children safe, yet the dialogue revolves around how.

SEATTLE — Leaders in the Seattle Public Schools system, the Seattle Police Department, parents and students met Thursday night to discuss how to make schools safer.

The conversation highlighted frustrations about outdated systems used to support children, school resource staff, and overall building security.

“Right now we are killing each other and it breaks my heart,” said one student. “I feel like right now we don’t really want to make a change. We’re just talking about making a change. Actions speak louder than words.”

The conversation is filled with urgency from a community looking for more action to keep children safe, however, the dialogue is about how.

“What worked for me when I was your age won’t work for kids going forward,” said Ted Howard, assistant superintendent for Strategy and Climate at Seattle Public Schools. We’re here to support you so you can figure out what you want and need so you can help guide us so we can help you.”

The meeting was organized by the Seattle Police Department’s African American Community Advisory Council. Officers listened as the community spoke about their complicated relationship with school police. Officials also seek to address what they believe to be misconceptions about school resource officers.

“We’re not on campus to police students. That’s far from reality. It’s more of a mentoring,” said Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin of Seattle Police.

The two-hour conversation comes just nine days after a student was shot dead at Ingraham High School. A 14-year-old student has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattle-public-schools-safety-discussion-shooting/281-966e35d7-f43f-4d93-81bf-63b96e82e633 Seattle Public Schools leaders, community discuss ways to improve safety

Edmund DeMarche

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