FOLLOWUP: Around 60 students walk out of Highline High in protest Friday

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On Friday morning (June 9), around 60 students walked out of classes at Highline High School to express their concern about the painting of the ‘Spirit Rock’ and other actions that have made them feel unsafe and unwelcome at school this year.

This was a peaceful protest, but staff canceled the annual ‘Pirate Mutiny’ events previously scheduled out of caution.

Staff also met with numerous students to hear their concerns, and an all-school assembly is planned for Monday, June 12.

“You may have heard a rumor that an assistant principal was punched. This did not happen,” Principal Vicki Fisher said via email. “It is our highest priority to ensure that all students are safe and feel safe on campus. We are taking the concerns expressed by students very seriously. While details on student discipline are confidential, we are appropriately addressing the behavior of students involved in this week’s events. We will address the issue of school culture and respect at an assembly Monday with the entire student body.”

Fisher added:

Please join us in encouraging students to report when they see or experience hurtful or disrespectful behavior.

We will continue working with students and staff in the fall to ensure we have a welcoming school environment for all students.

If you have questions or concerns, please email me at vicki[email protected]org.

We also learned that 55 or so members of a group called ‘Burien Represent’ held an emergency meeting at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church Friday night to discuss these issues.

“This past week we have learned that conservative members of the community have been circulating a petition to repeal the sanctuary city ordinance – the messaging is racist, xenophobic, and gravely incorrect,” organizers said on Facebook. “Burien Represent is calling for an emergency community meeting to quickly and swiftly address these issues and support our communities most marginizalied and vulnerable populations.”

Read our previous coverage of this developing story here.

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15 Responses to “FOLLOWUP: Around 60 students walk out of Highline High in protest Friday”
  1. Jace says:

    Wonder if the school districts response would be the same if it was FIRST painted Trump and then painted Pride.

    The Trump kids should be respected for their beliefs as well. They shouldn’t be discouraged or shamed for having political rights.

    • Captain obvious says:

      I think the issue is some think Trump is anti gay because he took out the trans gender youth protection out of a executive order for LGBT community. So with these kids painting a pro Trump statement . They think there being anti gay or supporting a anti gay agenda. Which why would you care what someone else’s sexual preference is. I never understand that one.

      Do to Trumps religious history and other factors the media is more or less trying to get more people to dislike him. So they are continuously using tid bits of information against him. To get more people to discredit him.

      I don’t care for him or his thoughts myself but he is are president unfortunately he did win the election so we have to deal with that.

    • Jace says:

      I would love to attend the assembly to see how much…”creating the kind of compassionate, respectful communities we want to see in our schools”…is one sided.

      My heart goes out to the Trump kids. Never back down from your beliefs or let anyone tell you your beliefs are wrong. Follow your heart and morals.

      • Madame says:

        tRump is a xenophobic, misogynistic liar. I would hope our students are smarter than him. My heart goes out to the tRump kids too if they admire and are proud of him.

        • real life says:

          Everybody has a right to support who and what they want. Nobody should be assaulted or shamed for it. I feel bad for you because you are not getting the whole story or seeing the whole picture. Differences make the world go round.

        • Jace says:

          That’s exactly the one sided belief shaming that no one needs. What a great example of what we don’t need teaching our kids.

    • LG says:

      “Wonder if the school districts response would be the same if it was FIRST painted Trump and then painted Pride.

      The Trump kids should be respected for their beliefs as well. They shouldn’t be discouraged or shamed for having political rights.”

      Jace, I understand where you’re coming from and share your concern that free speech be protected for all. However, context is everything. In a community like this, “Trump” is a dog whistle for anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, anti-public school, anti-working class, anti-woman policies. A rainbow signifies inclusion to most of these kids, whereas Trump signifies exclusion, so your reversal of the situation doesn’t hold; most kids in this school would applaud the word Trump being covered up because of the fear and devastation he represents to them. It wouldn’t cause the disruption and unhappiness to our learning environment that this did. Like Eric said, this is about bullying and who has power and who doesn’t. Make no mistake, this goes beyond “kids just being kids.” Covering up a rainbow during gay pride month then calling it “fixed” is synonymous with “you are not welcome” and yes, it is hate speech.

      It’s my first year teaching at HHS. The division and tension is heartbreaking and draining but unsurprising given our national climate. I’m weary of Trump supporters acting victimized, white people (adults and students) getting defensive and claiming they are not safe because everyone thinks they are racist, and people generally not willing to listen to eachother and learn from one another. This is all I want for our school moving forward–people being willing to listen and learn about their position, privilege, and power..then maybe they’d see the power they have to affect society.

      • Jace says:

        A rainbow is NOT inclusive of my nephew that is a straight heterosexual student at HHS…nor does it include every heterosexual person in the world.

        Further I NEVER praised or condemned either side. Everyone has beliefs and have a right to paint as they wish.

        Are you really suggesting everyone that painted over someone else’s paint message was committing a hate crime?!? It’s a rock…don’t like it…paint over it. Stop making everything political because you can say it’s inclusive as much you want BUT it’s not.

  2. Boulevard Park says:

    Could someone please post where I can sign the petition?

  3. really says:

    Respect petitions on-line

  4. Jay says:

    the thing is that we weren’t only protesting the painting of the rock we have been going through so many other things with the discrimination and the rock was just the last straw and our chill became non-existant.

  5. Eric Avery says:

    For the past several years, I’ve heard students at Highline complain to me about a group of students who bully, harass, and intimidate others. They would sling homophobic, racist, sexist remarks in the hallways and away from the teachers. No real discipline would ever happen to them, which has been a recurring theme in the Highline district. Whether it’s because they were on the baseball team, or because their parents served on boards, as coaches, or in other capacities, or whether it’s just Susan Emfield’s policy of not enforcing anti-bullying policies.

    The same names would keep coming up to me from these students, including the names of students who now have faced discipline.

    It has indeed been a long, slow burn to get to this point. This isn’t about politics – it’s about bullying, intimidation, and harassment of children by other children that’s gone on for far too long, and the bullies finally getting some discipline.

  6. Claudia says:

    I believe the school has not represented all the students equally and only reacting to the most vocal and is therefore not really interested if some get hurt over others. This “stuff” has been going on all year and can’t be buried in the sand nor will it go away with summer break. These problems need to be addressed at both the state superintendent level and with law enforcement. Some students are receiving threats which should not be taken lightly as currently being done. And where are the parents in this. Remember, we are dealing with children. Time to get it out of the control of children and into the hands of responsible people, agencies and other adults who can look at the whole picture and correct this problem before someone does get hurt!!

  7. Seahurst resident says:

    You get suspended for painting the American flag and adding the name of the President on it. It happens at a school that is publicly funded in a country where freedom of speech is a central part of the Constitution.

    Let that sink in…

    • Captain obvious says:

      From what I have read the only one that got suspended was someone that got in argument with the ether the vice principal or the principal I don’t remember which. But supposedly they threaten the use of violence. That’s against school policy.

      What have all seem to forget that these students are all minors and not adults yet. But some seem to want to act as the adults they see in college campuses. Unfortunately the so called adults at some college campuses are not acting as adults but acting as children that don’t want to do there school work. That want to make distractions to keep other students from completing there work. If you look at it most of these out bursts happen around grading time or when finals are dew.

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