More than 200 Garfield community members—including parents, teachers, and students—attended the Community Safety meeting on June 5. We were joined by representatives from Garfield Administration, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Police Department, City of Seattle, and community-based organizations.
Principal Dr. Tarance Hart acknowledged that we have had a challenging couple of weeks, beginning with the May 18 shooting in front of the Teen Life Center, followed by two shooting incidents near the school on May 24 and May 26, and culminating in a credible threat that led to early dismissal on June 1 and a switch to remote learning on June 2. In response to these incidents, Dr. Hart reported that the following additional measures have been put in place through the end of this school year:
- Hired private security to patrol the school campus daily;
- Increased Seattle Police Department patrols in the school vicinity;
- Resuming regular community safety meetings with Nova High School, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Garfield Community Center, and Seattle Police Department;
- Reviewing after-school shelter-in-place and lockdown procedures;
- Engaging students to focus on campus safety issues.
Dr. Hart emphasized that these additional resources, while very welcome, do not address the root causes of the problem of gun violence. Garfield needs to continue to partner with families and community-based organizations to address our response to these societal challenges. This community safety meeting is only the beginning of a much longer conversation. Please look out for an email soon with information on next steps, future meetings, and how to get involved.
The Garfield community is invited to continue this discussion at the next meeting of the Seattle Police Department’s African American Community Advisory Council at the Garfield Community Center on June 15 at 6pm.