Students protest outside Seattle Public Schools building
More than 100 students chanted and held signs outside the Seattle Public Schools district office Wednesday demanding change.
“Currently, school systems are mishandling reports of sexual assault,” said student Nicolo Potesta.
At Wednesday’s protest, she shared her own story of assault and her frustration with school leadership.
“It’s inconsistent when it comes to the safety of their students and the values they want people to have,” she said.
SPS student Cassidy Sylves added that neither her school nor the district took action when she told them she was assaulted.
“We shouldn’t be walking around with our abusers in school,” Sylves said. “We shouldn’t have to face that every day.”
School board members came out to speak to the students and acknowledged they shouldn’t have to protest these issues and that the district has failed them.
“I am sorry that you have to do that,” said Chandra Hampson, a school board member. “We should have already solved these issues for you. We should already have an environment where you can feel safe.”
“There has been a culture of negligence,” added Brandon Hersey, the newly-elected board president. “I believe that some of the biggest things that we need to do is collaborate with the students who are willing to talk to us who have had these experiences.”
Until then, these students are ready to do what it takes to make sure their voices are heard.
They say if that means walking out of class or protesting outside school board meetings, they’ll do it.
“I think this is going to show the board it’s not five students, it’s not 10 students, it’s a lot of students who really need change,” Sylves said.
Written by KIRO 7 TV reporter Andrew Scheinthal