Story & Photos by Scott Schaefer Around 75 students, parents, and community supporters gathered in the Highline High School cafeteria Thursday night, Aug. 10, to brainstorm on plans for a positive school climate and culture. Inspired by a controversial incident involving the painting over of a message on the school’s Spirit Rock in June (read our previous coverage here), this was the first of two community meetings, and it was open to all who wanted to participate in a positive movement towards a stronger, more unified and equitable school culture. The goal is to ensure that “every student is safe, accepted and celebrated,” Principal Vicki Fisher said. At this first session – facilitated by Assistant Principal Christina Posten – participants worked in small groups to assess and prioritize school needs as well as review input gathered from some previous meetings. The groups were tasked with creating poster-sized lists of what they thought were the most important issues, then share them during a “gallery walk through” review process. “I can teach kids how to read,” Principal Fisher said, “but I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I was definitely impacted by the pain I saw our students go through. “We must provide a safe place, because learning can only happen when students feel safe. And our goal is to create a healing process that allows that,” Fisher added. Some of the issues covered included:

  • Racism
  • Social justice
  • Sexism
  • Diversity
  • Education about other cultures
  • Methods to share information
  • Discipline
  • Freedom of Speech vs Hate Speech
  • Accountability for Teachers and Staff
A second session is scheduled for Aug 23 at 6:30 p.m., to launch the organization and implementation of action items. Spotted in attendance at the meeting was Burien City Councilmember Nancy Tosta, as well as new candidate Krystal Marx. Here are some photos from the event: ]]>

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