Residents, parents, students & staff participate in School Safety meeting


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Photos by Scott Schaefer

In response to recent incidents of school violence, Highline Public Schools on Thursday night (April 19) held a Community Meeting on School Safety at the Highline High School Cafeteria.

Around 100 or so people showed up, and the event was moderated by Rev. Lina Thompson of Lake Burien Presbyterian Church.

Highline High students helped moderate questions posed to audience members, who participated via group discussions at tables.

Spotted at the event were Burien City Councilmembers Krystal Marx and Nancy Tosta, along with Mayor Jimmy Matta, City Manager Brian Wilson, and several local police officers. All participated in the group discussions, which were based on three questions:

“What are factors that make you feel less safe?”

“What is your definition of safety? What does it look/sound like?”

“What will you do to contribute to making our school/community more safe?”

The evening started just after 6 p.m. with a moment of silence for the tragic deaths of two teenage girls who were senselessly shot and killed in Burien on March 28.

Students from Highline High spoke, including Mimi, who helped organize the March 14 walkout; she shared a story about witnessing an angry fellow student throw a rock through a school bus window, and wondered what if that student had a gun…was she “going to die”?

William, a walkout co-organizer, added:

“We have to be able to look at situations like this and try and figure out how to fix them, and come together and actually take action towards them. Thoughts and prayers won’t cut it anymore. What is necessary is for people to get together, talk and decide, then take action.”

The meeting ended a little after 8 p.m., after each table had a chance to share their thoughts, as well as an open comment period on what attendees were planning to do to personally make the school/community safer.

The next Community Meetings are scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, May 1, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Tyee High School library 4424 South 188th Street SeaTac, WA 98188
  • Thursday, May 10, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Mount Rainier High School library 22450 19th Avenue South Des Moines, WA 98198

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