Seattle schools need fewer cops, more counselors, students say
Seattle Public Schools students rallied outside a school board meeting Wednesday to call for more teachers of color, expanded ethnic studies classes and fair discipline practices.
The NAACP Youth Coalition held the rally as part of the district’s Black Lives Matter at School week, in which many schools focus on issues of racial justice. Students held signs reading "I need teachers who look like me" and "Stop white-washing education."
Rainier Beach High School senior Aminah Adams said that incorporating ethnic studies into lesson plans is critical for students of color.
“We helped build America. And we’re not taught that, and we’re not exposed enough in the curriculum," she said.
Israel Presley, who also attends Rainier Beach, said he wants to see schools focus on students’ social and emotional needs instead of policing them. “Because if you go and look across the country, you’ll notice that a lot of schools have more cops on the premises than they do counselors.”
Presley says if Seattle Public Schools takes bold action to make things better for black students, other districts will follow suit.
The district is currently developing ethnic studies curricula for different grade levels, and a school board resolution in 2017 called for ethnic studies to become part of classes required for high school graduation.