Students walk out of Chief Sealth High to protest texts with sexual violence, harassment | #schoolsaftey

Students at Chief Sealth International High School walked out Friday in protest over an incident involving graphic group text messages encouraging sexual violence among the school’s football team, according to KIRO Newsradio.

“I take the safety and wellbeing of our students very seriously,” Principal Ray Morales wrote in a letter, which can be read in full on the school’s website. “I appreciate the messages and questions families have sent to me expressing their concern about this issue. Our school and athletic teams are taking proactive steps to be sure our young people approach their peers and community members with respect.”

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Morales also claimed the school is exploring appropriate discipline and corrective action.

A senior at the school wrote an email to the West Seattle Blog in response to Morales’ message.

“I am a 12th-grade student at Chief Sealth International High School. At our school, some of the boys on our football team and in general have been known to sexually assault, catcall and harass women, as well as yell slurs and hate-crime queer and other students,” the anonymous student wrote. “The only thing that has happened to these boys, up to this point, has been a slap on the wrist, and events like this continue to occur.

“Our school consistently preaches about the physical and mental health and safety of their students, implementing a no-phone policy to reduce students’ anxiety and help our mental health, yet there has been serious inaction when the safety of female and queer students is put in jeopardy,” the email continued.

At least one varsity player was involved in the graphic group chat, with messages referring to graphic sexual violence against female students, some mentioned by name. An Instagram page named “chiefsealth walkout” has been created to promote the walkout, with one post receiving north of 200 likes. According to the Instagram page, the walkout will include scheduled speeches and an open mic for other students to express their feelings and concerns.

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“As a 12th grader at this school, they never take any kind of sexual harassment issues seriously,” a student commented on the West Seattle Blog. “I hope this walkout can enhance the safety of the female and queer community. I’m sick of the constant harassment.”

“Something happened to me two years ago, around then, when I was in middle school and I still see him walking in the hall every day,” one student told KIRO Newsradio. “They didn’t do anything. They just talked to him, that’s it.”

The walkout was set to occur on Friday at 11:50 a.m. It was originally scheduled for Oct. 26, according to the Instagram page.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS), the district that houses Chief Sealth International High School, also released a statement regarding the situation, which was acquired by KIRO Newsradio.

“On Wednesday, Oct. 18, concerns were brought to the attention of Chief Sealth International school leaders. The concerns were related to group text messages written by several Chief Sealth students. The content was graphic and extremely inappropriate,” the district’s statement read. “Chief Sealth International staff and SPS leaders do not condone this type of communication in any format.SPS takes the safety and wellbeing of students very seriously. We respect student voices and listen to our students’ concerns. SPS condemns any form of sexual abuse, assault, and violence, and we are dedicated to providing a nurturing and safe educational environment for all students.”

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