MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Seattle School District considering student safety measures, school consolidation

Jun 26, 2024, 9:35 AM

Garfield High School, located in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood....

Garfield High School, located in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Escalating violence in and around Seattle’s Garfield High School has prompted the district to consider new security measures ahead of its board meeting Wednesday night.

This comes after a gunman killed 17-year-old Amarr Murphy Paine in Garfield High School’s parking lot earlier this month.

“This violence has deeply affected us and re-injured our already grieving community still grappling with the impact of similar acts of gun violence,” Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Brent Jones wrote in a letter to families. “We are committed to taking concrete steps to enhance the safety of our school environments.”

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The school district said it’s considering requiring clear backpacks and ID badges on campuses. Jones said there could be no more open lunchtime either — campuses would close during the lunch periods, and there may be more security around the schools.

“Next school year, we are expanding our plans to include gun violence prevention in high schools and increased mental health support for all grades,” Jones said in the letter. “I have allocated over $2 million for staff to improve school building exteriors and campus security.”

There is a hotline — (206) 252-0510 — that can be used 24/7 to report any threats to schools.

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Jones also laid out plans to consider consolidation of preschool through fifth-grade schools.

“Our primary goal is to provide sustainable and equitable access to services and programs for all our students,” Jones said. “This would mean consolidating 70 schools that serve elementary grade students into about 50 well-resourced ones.”

He explained that at Wednesday’s meeting, consolidation would not be announced; only the parameters for making the decision would be outlined.

“We are working to stabilize our district amid declining enrollment,” Jones said. “As SPS does every year, we are proposing a balanced budget to our board for approval for the next school year.”

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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