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New safety initiative may be coming to Seattle Public Schools after Ingraham High School shooting

There were no school resource officers when a student was shot at Ingraham High School. Now some community members calling for the return of SROs on school campuses.

SEATTLE — Seattle Public Schools (SPS) announced on Thursday that a new safety initiative may be put in place following a deadly shooting at Ingraham High School.

Two teens, a 14 year old and a 15 year old, remain in custody Wednesday night for their roles in the shooting. Neither of the two teens has been formally charged. 

Following Tuesday’s shooting, there have been renewed discussions about police officers and other resources on school campuses.

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Brent Jones said the district will conduct a safety and security audit to diagnose opportunities and threats. They will create a community action team who will make an immediate determination of what SPS can do right now and will work closely with Mayor Bruce Harrell and Seattle Police Chief Diaz. 

Lastly, they will launch a child wellbeing council led by nurses, pediatricians and psychologists. 

Seattle School Board President Brandon K. Hersey said it is hard to imagine the horror the students at Ingraham experienced on Tuesday.

“The horror of hearing a gunshot outside of your classroom, of receiving a text from your child that there has been a shooting at their school. Or our educators and staff wonder if they’ll make it home that night," Hersey said. "It’s a horror that students, parents, and staff hope to never experience and something we hope to do whatever is in our power to make sure it does not happen again.”

Student Board Director Luna Crone-Baron also expressed concern at the meeting. 

“What I need, what we need is to know that we are safe in our school buildings. I can speak with confidence when I say we do not feel safe at school,” Crone-Baron said.

She went on to say that she does not feel that adding more police in schools is the answer, but there needs to be changes to the overall feeling of safety.

"Schools should be a place where kids are automatically safe, where we are nurtured and loved and not killed,” Crone-Baron said.

During a news conference, just hours after the shooting Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said there are no school resource officers (SRO) at Seattle schools citing staffing shortages.

“We need them back in schools,” said Victoria Beach, Chair of SPD’s African American Advisory Council.

Beach has been calling for SROs to return to school campuses before Tuesday’s shooting but said it’s more important than ever.

“The kids like them and it helps build trust and I know for a fact that certain things didn’t happen because kids report to the resource officers,” said Beach.

In June of 2020 following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Seattle Public Schools stopped having SROs assigned to four middle schools.

During a press briefing Tuesday, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell addressed the lack of officers at schools and if they are needed moving forward. 

“Right now listening to our students and looking at what they see around the country, we are at a point where we are trying to build trust between the police and students,” said Mayor Harrell.

Youth Policy Manager Roxana Gomez of the ACLU of Washington had a similar sentiment saying in a statement that read, in part: 

“Students themselves have the best insight into the factors that impact their safety and how to address them effectively. Providing positive supports, like school counselors, and listening to students and their needs will get to the root problems that can lead to safety issues and address them before anything negative happens.” 

Beach said after a young life was cut short, something needs to change now.

“We need to remember that he lost his life and his family will never be the same again. Let's not wait for it to happen again,” Beach said.

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