Dear GLES families,
For the past several days, many of us within our school community have been discussing KUOW’s December 5 story, “Locked in ‘the cage.’ Report finds disturbing discipline measures at Seattle school”:
What happened at View Ridge Elementary last year – where a Black, second grade boy was singled out and repeatedly placed in a jail-like outdoor cage, sometimes for several hours – is truly disturbing and heartbreaking. It involved bad actors, community complicity, fears of whistleblowing repercussions, and a lack of knowledge in how to properly report concerns. At the district level, it involved unclear and very questionable policies.
As experts in the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) community have noted, incidents of student abuse are in no way limited to the stories KUOW has been covering the past few months, and they happen disproportionately to Black and brown students, and to students in special education.
Student abuse in our schools is something that needs to end once and for all.
We want you to know that our PTA board is aware of this topic, and our social justice and equity co-chairs have been participating in community conversations about solutions. A community-led, BIPOC-led effort is getting underway with the Seattle Council Parent Teacher Student Association (SCPTSA) to research and develop a list of recommended calls to action for PTAs and SPS families who want to advocate on behalf of ending student abuse. School Board members as well have called for an immediate audit, report and action plan.
Families, we all must play a role: Working harder to truly see, truly listen to, learn from, and advocate for the unheard, and take ongoing action to create an inclusive, anti-racist, anti-ableist culture in our community.
If you’re wondering what you can do, here’s a start, and we welcome your additional ideas and dialogue.
· Know that our PTA allocates a portion of our budget to promoting equity and anti-racism within our school and across the district. We always welcome new ideas and feedback, and we always need more volunteers to support this programming. Contact email@example.com or join the Facebook group Green Lake Families for Advancing Social Justice and Equity if you’d like to get involved.
· Join Families of Color Seattle in calling on SPS to “provide credible and measurable assurances that the horrendous treatment of Jaleel will not happen again to another child; and to institute and implement anti-racist policies that center BIPOC students with disabilities as those currently furthest from educational justice.”
· Follow and amplify the work of two of many valuable local resources: Black Lives Matter at School, the national organization that started here in Seattle; and the Seattle Council PTSA, which just announced the development of a new Student Safety Committee, is working with SPS and its families on developing a community-based anti-racist policy for the district, and is an important party to watch in the coming weeks for community calls to action around student abuse.
· For reporting incidents of student abuse, here is some guidance.
PTA board members will continue to participate in the community conversation on this topic and provide an update in the new year as more develops. If you have questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Lindner, PTA president, 2nd year
Mandy Seever, PTA president, 1st year
Dawn Larson, PTA social justice & equity co-chair
Molly Sahebjami, PTA social justice & equity co-chair
Julia Nash, PTA Secretary
Kat Johnson, PTA treasurer, 2nd year
Anjali da Victoria Lobo, PTA treasurer, 1st year
Amanda Howes, PTA communications chair
Lisa Illingworth, PTA room parent coordinator
Mary Ellen Russell, PTA legislative chair
Jennifer Koch, PTA new family liaison
Angie Sterwald, PTA development chair
Annika Sgambelluri, PTA events chair
general pta meetings
The last meeting is June 9th at 7:00pm
All are welcome!
The 3rd Wednesday every other month
Check the calendar to view the dates