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Ingraham High School parents demand follow-up on security promises

A student died from an on-campus shooting in November and a gun was confiscated from a teenager on the same campus recently, resurfacing fears for many families.

SEATTLE, Wash. — It’s been nearly six months since the school shooting tragedy on Ingraham High School's campus rattled the community to its core.

But Ingraham families say they’re still on edge and more can be done.

Fears were brought back to the surface two weeks ago when a gun was confiscated from a teenager on Ingraham’s campus.

Families are now demanding more transparency on safety improvements that were promised last fall.

"We need a metal detector. We need a police officer, and we need safety. We need quick action," said Hannah Eshete, the aunt of the shooting victim, 17-year-old Ebenezer Haile.

She is not the only one demanding change.

"Action must be taken more immediately," said Make Gallitelli, mother of a freshman at Ingraham High School.

Earlier in the school year, parents and students protested for changes to safety and security. One student wrote on a sign, “Thoughts and prayers don’t save lives.”

It’s that same sentiment that caused the school’s superintendent to make a bold promise. After the shooting last fall, Superintendent Dr. Brent Jones announced a three-tiered safety initiative to include community action teams with community and city partners, a child well-being council for their mental health, and a districtwide security audit reviewing the safety of all SPS campuses.

The results of the latter, however, have yet to be disclosed, according to parents like Gallitelli.

"And so far we have not heard anything else about the safety audit," said Gallitelli.

She said her daughter was the classmate of one of the students involved in the shooting, and that she was there when it happened.

"In February, the superintendent said that it would take time, that we should hear more in March," said Gallitelli. "And we still haven’t heard anything, a lot of parents I have talked to say their kids don’t feel safe.”

She said the locks were changed and more security guards were noticeably on campus right after the shooting. Since then, she said their presence has dwindled.

"I haven’t seen any recently," said Gallitelli. "I think we deserve to have an answer, and if the authorities promise a safety audit or whatever they promise, then that is what we should get. And if not, we at least should get an 'Okay, this is taking longer than we planned'.”

At last Wednesday’s school board meeting, Jones said he is currently working to finalize a meeting with members of the school's parents group to discuss their progress in more detail. 

He added that a district-wide message on the status of their safety initiative will be coming soon.

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