SEATTLE - Hundreds of Seattle students walked out of class Monday and gathered outside City Hall to demand leaders to take action in keeping them safe at schools.
This is in response to last week's shooting at Ingraham High School that left one student dead. Two teens were arrested in connection with the shooting.
The district-wide student walk-out was put on by the Seattle Student Union.
During Monday's rally, students demanded increased funding for more school counselors dedicated to behavioral health and other safety resources
"The thing is that kids, unless they are in a situation where they do not know how to handle their emotions, or they feel like they're not being heard, or they don't know how to regulate relationships, they react in ways based off of emotion. That's what happened on Tuesday," said Amelia Payne-Garcia, a 2022 Ingraham High School graduate who participated in the walkout.
Students organized this city-wide walkout monday morning, demanding several changes, including, according to social media posts, an increase in counselors and one dedicated staff member for every 200 students. They are also calling for an updated curriculum that would require passing a new mental health and wellness course to be able to graduate and want an increased security presence at their schools, calling for more dedicated people trained in de-esclation.
However, a majority of students said they don’t want armed officers in the school.
"Well, we just don’t want cops. Cops are not the solution," one student said.
Another said, "…an overwhelming response is that students have wanted more security, but unarmed, we want more security. but we don't want any guns, no police anywhere near us, because that just makes students feel unsafe..."
"We need counselors that specialise in mental health and in diverse backgrounds. They come into the schools and they help the students rather than armed police officers, because we have seen statistics that armed police officers do not help. They do not help the students, at all," senior Rory told FOX 13.
The Seattle school district released this statement on the demonstration:
"Seattle Public Schools welcomes student voice. It is fully understandable that students, families and staff are deeply concerned about safety, and we recognize the increased fear and anxiety as a result of the tragic, senseless circumstance at Ingraham High School last Tuesday.
Since Tuesday, the SPS Health Services team has been working with school leaders to provide our students and staff with support. It is essential that our schools – starting with Ingraham High – are safe and healthy learning and teaching environments.
Today, additional counselors and social workers will be at the school. Additional security will be provided on the school campus. While Ingraham will follow its regular bell schedule, educators will be available for students during the morning classes to discuss their experience.
'"I am ready to do the work, alongside you, to make a tragedy such as this never happens again," said SPS Superintendent Brent Jones. "Seattle Public Schools is dedicated to providing a safe, welcoming learning environment for our students, families, educators and staff.'
Supporting student and staff wellness has been and will remain the highest priority.
At Ingraham, students are returning to reclaim their learning space. Principal Martin Floe, school staff, and district teams have provided a supportive, safe space while giving the school community time to heal."