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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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 also make a live comment to the school board; just email firstname.lastname@example.org before 1 pm Monday and tell her you want to speak, and she will send you a Zoom link.
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:
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.
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.
Adopt a decision methodology that supports equitable and inclusive decisions.
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 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.
(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 email@example.com and we will point you in the right direction.)
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.
Clickhere 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!
Indivisible Kirkland has been asked to endorse a side in a local proposition! We are being asked to sign on to the No on Prop 1 campaign to eliminate the Houghton Community Council.
Every four years, residents of the Houghton neighborhood vote on whether to continue having the Houghton Community Council. The HCC is the only neighborhood council that has veto power over the Kirkland City Council when it comes to Houghton land use and zoning.
This strange quirk came about as a provision of Houghton’s merger with Kirkland in 1968. Most of the councils with veto power set up back then were disbanded; Houghton’s is one of only two that remain in the entire state.
Proponents of the HCC say that it acts as a useful check on the city, especially when it comes to upzoning and densification. However, Chanin Kelley-Rae (who has been working on an equity gap analysis for the City of Kirkland) and others have identified the HCC as a significant impediment to equity in Kirkland, since it enshrines a system in which some voters have more say than others in decisions that affect us all.
Since the city is incentivized to compromise with the HCC and pass land use policies that the HCC won’t veto, the members of the HCC end up with an outsized voice in Kirkland planning. (The city also has to devote most of one FTE to HCC-related work. [Source.])
Voting YES on Prop 1 will keep the HCC around for another four years. Voting NO on Prop 1 will eliminate the HCC.
The committee opposing Prop 1 comprises several Indivisible Kirkland members who are working against this proposition on the grounds that the HCC is an inherently undemocratic and inequitable institution that should be sunsetted in order for Kirkland to operate more fairly and justly.
Please vote below on whether you Indivisible should endorse ending the HCC.
Should Indivisible Kirkland endorse this campaign to end the HCC?