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Students walk out in wake of Ingraham High School shooting

SEATTLE — It’s been almost a week since a 17-year-old student was shot and killed inside Seattle’s Ingraham High School by another student.

In response to this, students at the high school and other schools in the district walked out of class Monday morning. They then gathered at Seattle City Hall and demanded that city leaders take action to help keep schools safer.

“I’m glad that we actually took initiative and we actually got the time today to share our voice,” said Ingraham student Naomi Armstrong. “Nobody should come to school and feel scared and feel nervous.”

“We need Ingraham to change what they’re doing. Obviously, they’re doing things wrong considering how this happened and the aftermath of it as well,” a Seattle Public Schools student said.

Students are asking for increased training for security at SPS on de-escalation and anti-racism, as well as updated safe storage laws. They are also proposing a full-on ban of assault rifles and an increase in the number of mental health counselors.

Right now, the district is providing one counselor per every 350 students. The Seattle Student Union wants to decrease that ratio to one counselor per every 200 students. The student union has also posted specifics on how they want these demands achieved.

SPS Superintendent Dr. Brent Jones says he plans to form a community action team to help determine what can be immediately done to improve the safety of Seattle’s schools. The district claims it’s also considering limiting access to schools installing buzzer systems or key cards, as well as increasing monthly emergency drills.

Some Ingraham students speaking at Seattle City Hall, accused the district of failing to make active-shooter drills a priority since COVID.

“As we mourn this loss, we also have an opportunity to grow in a way that can prevent this type of tragedy from happening again,” Jones said.

Outside the school’s entrance sits a small memorial of flowers and candles. Robert Gardner lives near the school and says things have felt different in the community since.

“It’s sad. There’s a tempo in the air. You can feel it,” Gardner said.

He says each night that he walks by, he makes sure the candle there stays lit. It’s a small gesture he hopes can help the healing process.

“We wanted to come up here to make sure that light is lit tonight because it’s pure. It’s real,” Gardner said.

He hopes that as students voice their concerns about safety, schools will listen to them.

“I think that it’s really important that we hear the youth,” Gardner said.

Gardner believes coming together is the best way to move forward.

“We just all got to stick together and support each other and don’t leave anybody behind, ya know,” Gardner said.

Students walked out at around 9:50 a.m. and gathered outside Seattle City Hall at 11:30 a.m.

Seattle Public Schools released the following statement regarding Monday’s 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.

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