Occupy Seattle news

Some Capitol Hill residents were greeted today with letters left on their front porch concerning Occupy Seattle, from someone named “Alice, SCCC Graduate”.  

The letter was neatly typed, single spaced, had a beginning, middle and end, and clearly laid out the reasons why she and her compatriots were participating in this particular style of Civil Disobedience.

“We are asking our neighbors in Capitol Hill to show their support.  Their have been a few negative outcomes from us being at Central, but we hope that the Capitol Hill community understands the difficulty in trying to construct a self-sustaining governed society from the ground up.  The fight for economic justice will not be easy.  But occupying public education is a good beginning.”  

The note concluded with a polite request for assistance: “If you would like to contribute to our fight for social progress, we could really use your help….you can do this online at OccupySeattle.org

In other news, parents of students at Garfield High School received the following email from the principal of the school:

Garfield Families – Garfield high school wanted to make you aware of a nationwide group – Occupy Seattle that is currently residing close to the school campus. They are living in an abandoned building that is on 23rd Avenue. The building is in the 300 block just south of 313 23rd Avenue. Occupy Seattle recently tried to hand out pamphlets and recruit members on the high school campus. Security and police asked the group to leave. Garfield high school is working with the Seattle Police Department to make sure that the group is not allowed to come on campus and promote their ideas. We wanted families to be aware of the group’s presence close to the school campus. Sincerely, Ted Howard – Principal at Garfield High School

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6 thoughts on “Occupy Seattle news

  1. Here is the response from one parent that received the letter from Garfield high school (name left anonymous):

    Dear Ted Howard,
    I am a Occupy Seattle member and I was very upset to see your note
    about how you will not let Occupy Seattle come on campus, and you will
    let the military branches and DARE come on campus. This is not right i
    would suggest to you that you at least talk to the occupy Seattle
    participants before you say no. The class sizes at Garfield High
    school increase if the budget cuts pass. If Washington State taxed the
    one percent we would probably have enough revenue from that so that
    education would not need to be cut more. I urge you to reconsider and
    at least let Occupy Seattle members on to campus and talk to them.
    I would like a reply ASAP

  2. As a high school teacher and just as a person it is very upsetting to me that a principal would make a decision to bar ideas and information from a high school campus. Seniors at Garfield are mere months away from being hit by the full force of the issues about which the Occupy movement is trying to raise awareness, and all students at Garfield are inheritors of the consequences of this time. Not to mention that some of the students Ted Howard is “protecting” are surely 18 years old. As legal adults old enough to join the military and die for this country, they, I am sure, can handle a piece of paper which they are free to either read or throw away.

    Ted Howard vastly underestimates the ability of the students in his school to think for themselves, understand complex issues, and make their own decisions. It’s a very sad statement for an educator in a leadership position to make.

  3. While I would agree it is best to protect the students and keep random strangers off campus, I agree with joissance’s post that allowing recruiters and DARE on campus is not political neutrality. A couple spokespeople selected by the outreach committee approved through proper school channels should be allowed on campus in a designated and non class disruptive space to answer questions and distribute information to students seeking to learn more.
    While I back the use of illegal civil disobedience action in the movement such as camping or blocking intersections, children at public schools must be protected. Let’s face it, not everyone in our movement is someone we would trust around our kids; we are deluding ourselves if we think we are made up exclusively of swell, wholesome folk. I would urge the outreach committee to push to take an orderly lead on this at the next GA and then petition and work with school administrators to get a presence on campus.

  4. While I suppose we can assume that Ted Howard’s or even the Seattle Public School District’s stance is that random strangers should not be on a school campus, that is not how Howard framed the issue. He did not say, “We have a school/district-wide policy that prohibits any person or organization not previously approved from entering campus to distribute materials or otherwise engage students.” He did not issue a neutral statement that simply reinforced a pre-existing policy. He said, “We are working with the SPD to make sure that the group is not allowed to come on campus and promote their ideas.”

    He clearly said he does not want the ideas promoted, so I’m not sure it would be matter who was promoting them or whether or not those individuals went through “official” channels to do so. That doesn’t mean outreach should not make an effort to build bridges, of course, but I’m not feeling confident that Howard would be open to such a conversation.

  5. Background checks are run on those approved by the school district to visit campuses and iteract with minors. The Occupy folks have zero background checks, many have criminal records, and there have been assaults, property destruction, harassment and now allegedly a rape associated with the campers. I support OWS, but I disagree that just because people claim to be Occupy Seattle, they should be allowed to come on campus and interact with minors without thorough background checks.

  6. Regarding the above comment “He clearly said he does not want the ideas promoted, so I’m not sure it would be matter who was promoting them or whether or not those individuals went through “official” channels to do so.” Are you aware that Jessie Hagopian, a teacher and Occupy Seattle teach-in speaker, featured in Occupy Seattle videos, is a current teacher at GHS, discussing Occupy ideas with kids in history class? Mr. Howard is not quelling the discussion of ideas at all. He’s trying to protect our kids from contact with random strangers claiming to be trying to educate, whose actual agendas, criminal histories, etc. are totally unknown. In short, he’s doing his job.