“On the second to last day of school this year, my kids saw this.”
Karin Butler, of Edmonds, held up a printed sign showing graffiti that was painted on Madrona K-8 School during one of several incidents during the school year. The sign faced the Edmonds School Board during the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday night. She did not turn the sign around to the audience, she said, because there were children in the room and the language was explicit.
“Our family did not feel safe or supported by the school’s response,” Butler said. “Before school starts in the fall, I need to know how the district plans to increase security, how it will increase training and how it will develop a response to acts of hate.
“I need to know these things so I can safely send my boys back to school,” she said.
School District Superintendent Kris McDuffy said the district is working closely with the Edmonds Police Department to get to the bottom of the incidents at Madrona. The Edmonds Police Department is also currently investigating other hate crime incidents in the city and gave an update to community members on Wednesday night.
However, McDuffy said there are some things the district is also committed to improving.
“The issue of communication and how our families are feeling – there is a lot of work to do, and we know that,” she said. “What I can share is that communication should have gone out much more expeditiously on that day.”
The room, which contained about 200 activists asking for more resources for teachers, erupted in applause.
Improvements are in the works, McDuffy said. For starters, Madrona will have a new principal and assistant principal next year, both of whom McDuffy described as “committed to listening, learning and doing what we have to do as a school system to move forward.”
McDuffy expects to have opportunities for family members to meet the new principal and assistant principal and discuss their concerns later this summer.
“I can tell you, they are all in,” she said.
McDuffy also said new communication protocols are “in the works.” Training for administrators and counselors is also planned before school starts this fall.
“We have a lot of work to do,” she said.
The district also plans to hold a study session to determine a way to monitor school campuses.
“We should know when someone is on our roof vandalizing,” she said. “We should know when a window is broken.”
— By Natalie Covate