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    Staff Sit In
    Posted on 09/28/2018

    September 28, 2018

    Dear Garfield Families:

    As many of you are aware, this morning Garfield teachers chose not to teach and gathered students in the gym in protest of fall staffing adjustments. This was not an organized student protest but led and orchestrated by Garfield educators and violates the Seattle Education Association contract “no strike” clause.

    Garfield is down in student enrollment. We opened this fall with fewer students than we anticipated in the spring. The school has been asked to reduce our faculty by two teachers so that those teachers can be moved to schools that need additional teachers. We should have lost more teachers, but the district provided some mitigation funds to stabilize staffing with the limited resources available. Staffing and scheduling adjustments are never easy, but a reality when our school and district budgets are so tight.

    I apologize for the actions of our teachers. Students were not given a choice to protest or not. Because students did not have a choice, that choice was made for them, student absences prior to lunch will be excused. 

    As a school and district, we support students’ first amendment right to protest. This student right is formally acknowledged in Board Policy 3223, Freedom of Assembly. Activism and community participation are values held by many Seattle residents, and is a theme that can be found in our city’s past as a source of our community pride. You can learn more about public protest in Seattle Public Schools here.

    The teachers ended their “sit in” prior to lunch and classes resumed after the student lunch. Certified central office staff were at the school to ensure student safety and learning.

    The Seattle Education Association and central office are now determining how teachers will be held accountable for violation of the contract and lost instructional time. Again, I apologize for the actions of our faculty.

     

    Principal Howard