Our report on SROs in LWSD

A group of local activists has sent this memo to the Lake Washington School District, asking them to remove SROs from our schools. Many of these activists are IKWA members!

Our report contains:

  • a review of national research on SRO programs,
  • the results of our investigation of cases filed by Kirkland SROs, &
  • statements in opposition to SROs made by local groups, particularly Black-led organizations.

Email MJ at mj@ikwa.info if you’d like to add your name to the list of signatories!

Also, consider writing to the school board yourself! Information here.

LWSD: take armed police out of our schools!

Call to Action: Write the LWSD School Board to get armed police out of our schools! Due Monday, 9/12 by 12 pm

Call To Action:

Call to Action: Write the LWSD School Board to get armed police out of our schools! Due Monday, 9/12 by 12 pm

On Monday, September 12th, the LWSD School Board will be discussing updates to the district’s School Resource Officer (SRO) program.  SROs are armed police officers that are assigned to all elementary, middle, and high schools in the District. 

Please write the Board by 12pm Monday to demand that they remove armed police from our schools. (see below for options)

National and local data show that SROs do not make schools safer, but they do create negative emotional and educational impacts for students, especially Black, disabled, LGBTQ+, and immigrant students.  

The district is proposing an updated SRO model that they are calling a “community based model,” which has not been clearly defined. The SROs will now collectively float among schools instead of being assigned a specific school. But let’s be clear, this does not change that armed police will still be in schools.

Local Black students and families have repeatedly told the district and cities that they do not feel safe with regular police presence in schools.  The teachers’ union has taken a strong stand against police in schools.  It’s time for the district to listen to those who are most impacted.


Writing the Board:

Please complete either option by 12pm on Monday, 9/12

  • Option 1 – Write the Board directly at boardmembers@lwsd.org 
  • Option 2 – Have your comments added to the official Board packet (which will be publicly viewable) by using this online form.

Questions? Need more info? Feel free to contact info@ikwa.info

Community Economics & Permanent Supportive Housing

What are the economic realities of addressing homelessness through permanent supportive housing?

PSH actually saves the community money, while also providing solutions and effective services for those facing the circumstance of being unhoused.  

  1. PSH at 1811 Eastlake was opened in 2005 and houses 75 formerly homeless residents with chronic alcohol use disorders.  Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published research in 2009 that said 1811 Eastlake saved taxpayers $4M+ in the first year of operation. (JAMA research on 1811)
  2. The JAMA also noted that the cost of publicly-funded services (jail, hospital, detox, EMS, etc.) per person per month, prior to housing, was $4,000+ per person.  The monthly cost dropped to less than $1500 per resident after 6 months of housing at 1811 and dropped down to under $1000 after 12 months of housing.  So the cost-burden on publicly-funded services drops dramatically when PSH is implemented.  (JAMA research on 1811)
  3. Hotels are a much more affordable option: “The average cost to build permanent supportive housing is about $350K to $400K per unit or more, depending on where it is being built. In comparison, purchasing hotels during a depressed market is averaging around $270K per unit, a significant savings. Equally important, they are available for occupancy with very little renovation and are already furnished. Once the provider has been chosen and staffing is in place, the hotels can provide housing quickly and efficiently. HTH meets a critical need for this region.” (HTH FAQs)


  • So, to recap, community members are healthier, safer, more stable, and better able to plan for their future when in permanent supportive housing.  They are also far less likely to move from PSH to unstable or unhoused conditions.  And it saves taxpayers money.  

  • Contact Kirkland City Council to remind them of the economic benefits of PSH!
  • Want to review the info from our last PSH post? Find it here.  
  • Permanent Supportive Housing in Kirkland – yes, please

    What is permanent supportive housing (PSH)? 
    Permanent supportive housing pairs subsidized housing with case management and supportive services and is a proven solution to chronic homelessness. PSH offers wrap around services to foster housing stability, which may include case management, counseling, behavioral health supports, medical services, and meals.

    Tell Kirkland City Council that you support the plan to turn La Quinta Inn into permanent supportive housing to address homelessness in our community.

    Why do Indivisible Kirkland organizers support PSH?

    • Housing is a human right. 
    • Stable housing is foundational for a person’s health, stability, and ability to plan for the future.
    • Addressing the circumstance of homelessness is a responsibility of the entire community.  We are in this together.
    • We want to implement programs that have proven economic and social outcomes.
    • PSH is one of those proven strategies.
    • Additionally, we must not, as a community, forget about those neighbors who face the threat of homeslessness.  Citywide renter protections are an important partner piece to PSH. 

    What are the positive outcomes of PSH (compared to homelessness or shelter)? (From Report: Using Hotels as Housing)
    For Residents:

    • Greater sense of stability, leading to more capacity to work towards goals for future.
    • Improved health and well-being (Many folks find themselves unhoused because of medical bills or medical conditions – PSH is essentially healthcare, making individuals and the community healthier.)
    • Higher exits to permanent housing and greater engagement with housing services.
    • Reduces exposure to Covid.
    • Reduces 911 calls.

    For Community:

    • Reduces homelessness
    • Reduces spread of Covid
    • Reduces number of 911 calls (compared to shelter)
    • Potential to build community through partnership with residents and service provider 

    Health Through Housing
    Report: Using Hotels as Housing
    The Corporation for Supportive Housing
    Housing First Primer

    Body cams aren’t the answer

    This is the feedback Indivisible Kirkland gave to the city of Kirkland when it was considering body cameras in spring 2022.


    Indivisible Kirkland recognizes that the issue of body-worn cameras for police is a challenging community issue, because both research and the recommendations of our trusted partner organizations have been changing so rapidly.


    When the first study of body cameras came out in 2012, it seemed they could be a panacea for both police violence and community trust in policing. We wish that early promise had panned out! However, subsequent research failed to replicate those benefits.

    Large meta-analyses of all controlled trials of body cameras were published in 2020 and 2021. Both studies found that body cameras had no statistically significant effect on:

    • use of force
    • assaults on officers
    • arrests
    • calls for service (officer-initiated or dispatched )
    • traffic tickets
    • stop & frisks
    • incident reports
    • response time
    • time on scene

    Body cameras did reduce complaints against officers, by nearly 17%. It is unclear whether these were frivolous complaints or not. They also increase police citations (non-traffic) by about 6%.

    Research therefore does not support body cameras as a solution either to police violence or to community lack of trust in police.

    In more anecdotal terms, this makes sense if we consider that the proliferation of body cameras between 2012 and 2020 clearly failed to “fix” American policing. Body cameras were worn during the murders of Derek Chauvin and Breonna Taylor. The mere presence of a body camera does not translate into community safety.

    Trusted partner organizations

    Because of all this, many of our trusted organizations stopped supporting body cameras by the summer of 2020, if they supported them at all.

    These organizations all do have specific policy demands around policing. They consistently ask for policy changes that will protect vulnerable populations by decreasing the scope and footprint of policing, and by creating robust systems of accountability. These organizations are not asking cities to increase the budgets and surveillance capabilities of their police departments. 

    Specific Policy Feedback:

    It is therefore Indivisible Kirkland’s strong recommendation that the city of Kirkland not purchase body cameras. It is an expensive program with serious ramifications for community members’ privacy, and it has no proven benefits to the community.

    If Kirkland does enact a body-worn camera program, we do want to offer some feedback for that potential program:

    • The program should not expand the size or budget of the police department; instead, positions and duties should be covered from within the current department. (We note that dismantling the SRO program could pay for a body camera program, for example.)
    • Privacy issues, especially for youth and those with mental health conditions, must be of paramount importance.
    • Officers must be held accountable for having their cameras on at all appropriate times.
    • Officers involved in use of force and deadly force must give their statements before having access to the video.
    • A civilian oversight board must have access to unedited camera footage and the authority to act upon concerning footage. 

    Equity and Belonging in Kirkland

    As the City of Kirkland begins to take on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Indivisible Kirkland calls on the City to adopt stronger antiracist racist policies.

    Here are links to some of the biggest pieces of the city’s current DEIB work. Read up on what the city is planning — and how you can give feedback!

    • R-5434, the Black Lives Matter resolution passed in August 2020

    Stay tuned!

    In the next few months, Kirkland will ask for feedback on body cameras, and Lake Washington Schools will ask for feedback on SROs..

    DEIB Model-1-1

    LWSD Equity Now: Call To Action

    The LWSD is, frankly, doing a terrible job protecting BIPOC teachers and staff, especially those who are creating anti-racist classrooms. The district’s own Equity & Family Engagement page calls for bold, anti-racist teaching, for disrupting the status quo in education, but teachers who do so are being targeted.

    You can help by:

    1. Resharing these slides on social media!
    2. Writing the school board and administration before 3 pm Monday to have your letter part of the meeting’s public record!
    3. You can also make a live comment to the school board; just email djenkins@lwsd.org before 1 pm Monday and tell her you want to speak, and she will send you a Zoom link.

    Letter-writing template:

    Feel free to use this template to help you write the LWSD School Board, as well as school and district administration. HOWEVER, template letters hold less value to the board than personalized ones, so please add your own language and stories whenever possible to personalize your message.

    As a LWSD [community member / parent with students at _________ school], I am concerned about the recent events at Eastlake HS and the district’s response. After a district wide e-mail was sent, there has been no follow-up communication or transparency.

    The district’s response at all levels to EHS’ Patriot Day failed to include the lived experience of many students and families, particularly Muslim, Sikh, Brown, Black and those perceived as Muslim. Not applying an equity lens to decisions and communication opened the door for threats and attacks to be directed at teachers and students.

    Not resolutely defending teachers, not holding accountability of those who have caused harm, nor acknowledging the harm, in hopes it simply goes away, upholds the status quo.

    When teachers are afraid, when students cannot process their emotions from the impact, it is impossible for teachers to teach effectively and students to learn.

    This affects the whole district when this happens at ANY of our schools. This cannot be siloed; the impact has and is still being felt and we must do more to protect all teachers who are willing to follow the LWSD Equity and Family Engagement Vision and Mission:

    • Commit to the legacy work of racial, gender and ability equity for all and the intersectionality therein.
    • Disrupt the status quo.
    • Be unified in the community of unrelenting abolitionists working to intentionally achieve
      educational and social justice to ensure that all students have freedom to choose their paths in
      the world.
    • Engage in intentional, strengths-based legacy work by pushing boundaries through storytelling
      and abolitionist teaching.
    • Disrupt the system that threatens the educational freedoms of our community.
    • Work to harness and include the power and wisdom of historically marginalized communities.
    • Push boundaries and decolonize my curriculum and mindset.

    All students have a right to a truthful education that challenges and expands their thinking and
    prepares them to engage authentically and fully in the complex world we inhabit.

    I urge the administration to:

    1. Make a districtwide statement on how the Superintendent, Director of Equity & Family Engagement, and Asst Superintendents of School Communities, will strongly stand with and protect all administrators and teachers who commit to this LWSD Equity and Family Engagement Vision and Mission.
    2. Ensure the EHS Leadership team conduct a postmortem and develop a plan forward that allows students and teachers to reflect on Patriot Day through an equity lens. Begin and follow through with a restorative justice approach with those who have caused harm to take accountability and restore trust with teachers and students.
    3. Adopt a decision methodology that supports equitable and inclusive decisions.
    4. Consult and contract with an outside group experienced with approaches of restorative and transformative justice through an equity lens focus.

    Thank you,
    [your name]

    Check out Indivisible Kirkland’s Letter of Support: Protect Teachers:

    LWSD Equity Now

    LWSD Equity Case Study: Events at Eastlake High School Leading up to 9/11/21


    The following is an examination of the events leading to the controversy at Eastlake High School around 9/11/21.  These events caused and continue to cause great harm to BIPOC students and staff. This is an example of situations that happen in schools across the district and missed opportunities for district leadership to support building staff and the BIPOC community.  These events illustrate why the district needs a) an equity policy at board level, which it did not have until very recently; b) a bold anti-racist administrative equity policy crafted with the help of BIPOC stakeholders; c) district-level and administrative support for building level equity teams, which involve BIPOC students, families, and staff.  

    Continue reading here.

    (LWSD Equity Now is a grassroots community group, of which Indivisible Kirkland is a part, that is working on equity issues in the Lake Washington School District. For more information on LWSD Equity Now, contact info@ikwa.info and we will point you in the right direction.)

    Candidate forum on Oct 10

    This November’s election will include several Kirkland City Council races and several LWSD School Board Director races.  The important decision on whether or not to keep the Houghton Community Council, a decision that has direct implications for equity in Kirkland, will also be on the Nov ballot.

    Join Indivisible Kirkland for a Sunday afternoon candidate forum and information session to learn more in advance of filling out your ballot.  Our moderators will be a mix of BIPOC community members & youth, as well as content-area activists.  We will focus on issues of equity, racial justice, climate justice, and will also take questions submitted from audience members.

    Register here.  

    Click here to see who will be participating in the Candidate Forum.

    Please submit potential questions for the candidate forum here. This is local civic engagement at its finest! This forum will focus on racial justice, equity, and climate justice issues, so please keep that in mind as you consider your questions. We will also have lightning rounds of yes/no questions, so feel free to submit some of those, as well. Thank you!