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Garfield High School student raises money to increase school’s security following deadly shooting

SEATTLE — A Garfield High School student is taking action to help keep his peers safe following the deadly shooting on campus last week.

Seattle police said they’re searching for a teen suspect who shot and killed 17-year-old Amarr Murphy-Paine on campus last Thursday afternoon during the school’s lunchbreak.

On Tuesday morning, students returned to class for the first time since the deadly shooting as parents, staff and city leaders welcomed them back with support.

Mayor Bruce Harrell along with other city leaders spoke at the event.

After speaking with Seattle police, he said there’s a probable cause standard to make an arrest. He didn’t give further details as he spoke to the public, but he said that he’s devoting a lot of resources to find the teenage suspect who killed Murphy-Paine.

“I personally felt very scared, shocked, like I was coming back from Chipotle,” Jackson Hatch, a junior at Garfield High School, said when shots were fired on campus.

Hatch immediately ran home with his friends, he said, and later asked his friends a question the next morning.

“What can we do to fix this because there are so many lives at stake. There are so many people here,” he told KIRO 7 News.

Hatch raised more than $12,000 as of Tuesday afternoon to help improve his school’s security, which he described as underfunded.

“We have two security guards. They do great work. They’re awesome people, but it’s such a large campus and we need more people to cover such a large area,” he said. “We don’t really have too much of a camera system. We don’t even have a text message system in place.”

Hatch hopes the money can help purchase more cameras for the school, while creating a text-alert system that would notify students and staff immediately about an active shooter situation on or near campus.

“I think especially at a time like lunch when people are coming back from different areas, if they knew something was happening at the school and that was their way of notifying, then they wouldn’t come back and it would definitely save lives,” he said.

“I wanted to show people that our future isn’t really hopeless. Gen Z, like we can really do it. We can take action,” Hatch said. “I just want to show everybody else we can do this kind of stuff. We can really make a change, as kids too. We don’t have to be adults.”

Alicia Hatch, Hatch’s mother, said she supports her son’s efforts and believes students in the community should take action to protect their own community.

“These shootings have been happening during transition times. During lunch or after school and everybody is kind of everywhere and not being able to know right in the moment when it happens, may be creating more risks for everybody,” she said. “Students are the heart of the community, and I think for them to participate is really important. It’s important for them to show how much they care. About their school, about Amarr, about themselves, about each other.”

Governor Jay Inslee stopped by the campus Tuesday afternoon to show the students and staff support.

“Our hearts are ripped up. I just talked to the principal. I just wanted to show the whole community is standing with them. The Garfield is community is important to so many people including myself. My dad taught and coached here in the mid-50s. And it’s such a pillar of our western Washington community. Garfield High school is the epitome of such a diverse community. We care about it.”

We asked the governor about Hatch’s efforts to protect students following the deadly shooting.

“I talked to the principal and additional security can be of assistance to give people more sense of security, if nothing else. But we got to realize that we got to get these kids, not to have access to these guns fundamentally. Because you can’t have security solve all these problems. They can’t be in every street corner and that’s got to be a fundamental effort that we’re dedicating ourselves to.”

KIRO 7 News also reached out to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and requested to speak with Superintendent Chris Reykdal to understand the state’s current efforts to address gun violence and protect students.

A spokesperson shared the following statement:

“All students have the right to feel safe and supported in their place of learning, and in a fully funded K–12 education system, no student would be fundraising in order to meet the needs of their school community. Over the past five years in particular, our state Legislature has made monumental changes to our laws and resources to support school safety. Every Washington school is now required to have a threat assessment plan and a comprehensive school safety plan, and we increased the staffing in schools dedicated to supporting students’ physical, social, and emotional health.

However, like families are experiencing in their budgets, inflation is eating away at those investments, and our schools now have $1,000 less per student in buying power than they did in 2019. At the same time, the needs have only increased. Superintendent Reykdal will continue advocating and partnering with the Legislature to make up these gaps caused by inflation to fully fund our K–12 schools so no student, parent or guardian, or educator is raising money for a resource, tool, or service that should be funded by the state.

At the end of the day, schools cannot resolve safety concerns alone. Our young people simply have too much access to deadly firearms, and we absolutely must treat it like the public health crisis that it is.”

Hatch created a GoFundMe to help raise money to improve his school’s security. He said he is currently talking with the school principal and Parent Teacher Student Association on how the funds would be used going forward. If you’d like to help, please click here.

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