Students protest to get deteriorating school renovated

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SEATTLE - A Seattle high school is slated to become Seattle’s greenest school under a proposed renovation to be unveiled next week.

Students at Rainier Beach High School staged protests over the school’s deteriorating condition.

The South Seattle community said it has figured out a way to give students what they want – a multimillion-dollar renovation of the high school.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Deborah Horne spoke with local activist Gregory Davis about the high school.

“We see it as a public-private partnership,” said Davis. “If need be, you know, we’ll do from the ground up. From the bake sales to the grants, to the fundraising, to look at legislation to support it.”

Davis said the community decided to take matters into its own hands when Rainier Beach High School failed to make the district’s list of schools to be renovated.

The fight for the school began with the students, who staged two walkouts to highlight the sorry state of the nearly 50-year-old school.

Brett Leslie, a senior at Rainier Beach, believes the walkouts he organized made the difference.

“I do, because if we wouldn’t have done a walkout, then it wouldn’t have gotten on the news, and they wouldn’t have had any pressure put on to respond to us. They could have, you know, just pushed us aside,” Leslie said.

Instead, the walkouts pushed adults such as school board member Betty Patu to act.

“I felt that I needed to listen to the community and the kids and say what do we need to do, and that was the reason why we went outside of the district and tried to find ways, actually, to make this renovation possible,” Patu said.

Details of the renovation will be released at a news conference that is set for early next week.