Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Rainier Beach in the News (for Cheerleading)?

I feel so sad when I see this kind of story in the news because adults should know better.  It looks like there are several speakers on tonight's Board meeting speaker list to talk about the issue.

From KIRO-tv:

Cheerleading activities at Rainier Beach High School have been suspended until further notice after two incidents at the school last week.
According to a police report, a parent of a cheerleader came to the school Nov. 14 and threatened other cheerleaders.  

The police report says, "She told them to stop messing with her daughter or someone would come to the school and mess with them."  

The cheerleaders told police the parent threatened to get a gun from her car or to have her brother come back with a gun.   

The cheerleaders reported the incident to the school; the school called police.

Incident #2
On Nov. 15, there was a fight between two cheerleaders and other students, according to witnesses.
A parent of a student involved in the fight told KIRO 7 she was at the school to pick up her daughter for an appointment.  

According to the police report, she said, "I'm gonna (expletive) this school up. It's gonna get gangster in here. I'm gonna shut this mother (expletive) down."
That parent told KIRO 7 she was reacting to her daughter being punched in the face by a boy who doesn't even attend the school, but was in the hallway at Rainier Beach that day.

She said the fight centered around accusations of bullying; her daughter is not a cheerleader.

It would be troubling to find out that there are kids on campus who do not belong there.

  • Police located and arrested the female suspect for harassment, and she was booked into the King County Jail, and later released.
  • Parents of other cheerleaders told KIRO 7 that the school told all of the cheerleaders to stay home from school last Thursday and Friday.
  • On Monday, some parents were called and told cheerleading activities would be suspended until further notice due to safety concerns.
  • The cheerleaders are not allowed to cheer (at the upcoming semi-finals game); they are allowed to go to the game but will have to pay admission.
Parents and district:
Parents tell KIRO 7 they don't feel they're getting clear communication from the district and while some are concerned about safety, they're more frustrated the entire squad is being penalized for the incidents that only involved a few of them.  

The principal of Rainier Beach High School, Keith Smith, issued a statement on Wednesday:
“Rainier Beach is a community of students, families and staff who care about each other and put student safety at the forefront of our decisions. In the last few weeks, the cheer squad has been at the center of a conflict involving members of the school and broader community. While an investigation by the Seattle Police Department is ongoing and issues remain unresolved, we have decided to suspend cheerleading activities, including practices and cheering at games. In these times, it’s our role to take extra precautions to support all of our students.”
 While I know the disappointment the girls (and boys?) must feel over not cheering at the game, I think Principal Smith is doing the prudent thing given what has been happening.  I'm sure there will be extra security for the game.


Anonymous said...

...she was reacting to her daughter being punched in the face by a boy who doesn't even attend the school, but was in the hallway at Rainier Beach that day.

Was this during school hours??

poor security?

Anonymous said...

Cheerleading, like football, has no place in an educational environment.

Academics Matter

Anonymous said...

At many schools, Cheer Squad is an athletic activity as well as a school leadership position. At Hale, it counts toward PE credits and cheerleaders are considered part of student leadership. There have been girl, boy, trans, gay, and SPED cheerleaders at Hale. The coach there works hard to ensure a diverse and representative cheer squad. They still have to physically be able to do the stunts, etc.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if many parents and students in the Rainier Beach area would be happy to leave this scary environment behind to go to an unproven charter school.


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Seattle Citizen said...

Momof2, can you tell us how you envision a charter school being safer than a Seattle Public School? Would there be no bullying, no fights, just...because...or are you aware of things charters do to keep students from fighting. If you are, could you share that, because I'm sure everyone would be interested.

"This scary environment" you describe is a community of people, people who laugh, love, argue, and yes, fight together, inside the building and outside of it. I am very curious as to your suggestions regarding providing that community the safety you believe is possible for them using charters. Please let us know what charters can do that publics can't to make students more safe generally.
I say generally because I assume you find ALL schools to be "scary environments," because this sort of thing happens everywhere. In my white and wealthy high school back east, a student was stabbed in the library. Or are you just wanting to provide charters for THOSE children? But wait, you say it's just down there at Rainier Beach. Hmmm. THOSE children?


Anonymous said...

I'm still stuck on the part about a "boy who doesn't even attend the school" being at the school, unless it is after school hours and there is some afterschool event or activity.

poor security?

Seattle Citizen said...

poor security? SPS does not have secured buildings. There is no guard at the door. Buildings DO control the amount of access by making, say, only one or two doors openable from the outside, there are huge problems in trying to secure a large high school and even some smaller schools - there are many doors; there are fire codes against chaining them (they can be, and are, opened by students from the inside, even when locked from outside - blocked with a piece of wood or whatever.)
There are in many schools many security cameras, but no one paid a full FTE to watch them all day. In many buildings, a person entering has to pass office, so maybe someone sees them (unless they enter through a chocked-open side door, or a student pushes it open for them.) But office staff can't stand guard all day, either.
Limited security can patrol halls, and do, but every hall, all day? No.

I'm not sure there IS a good...or proper way to secure a building. Schools STILL are by far the safest places - adults around, cameras, students who care around...Do we WANT fortresses? Do we WANT steel doors with prison locks clicked open from a central security office?

Yes, I know that school staff, some of them, could likely be more proactive in calling our strangers in the hall. Some might not do that, might just go on to their classroom. But think about it: Garfield - 2500 students. Should we photo-surveil the halls and use facial recognition software to try and identify non-students during lunch rush?

I see no easy solution, but I hold firm to the idea of schools as open places, not fortresses. Yes, guests SHOULD check in, etc, but locking the whole thing down 24/7? No.

Anonymous said...

No, we don't want fortresses, but increased building security is certainly something being designed into newer schools (Lincoln included). It was my understanding that downtown security can view school camera footage in real time - no, they are not watching all cameras all the time, but there is some central security presence. The question, really, is what security practices do various schools use now?

poor security?

Seattle Citizen said...

poor security, I agree that there are some things that CAN be done, and a review of current practice in all buildings would certainly be advantageous.

Jet City mom said...

Seattle citizen, I agree that violence is pervasive and can be found anywhere.
Have we forgotten the brutal murder of John Jasmer by fellow Roosevelt students?

Or the gang related drive by shooting outside Ballard high school, resulting in the death of Melissa Fernandes?

Rainier Beach enrollment is significantly below Garfields. It doesnt seem too much to ask to expect staff to request visitors to leave/sign in at office.

W. Seattle said...

Sadly, a W. Seattle student was lured to a park and stabbed to death, too.