Seattle schools to increase student safety measures before next school year


Seattle Public Schools is doubling down on student safety nearly three weeks following a shooting on school grounds that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old student.

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Brent Jones announced more than $2 million in funding for improving school building exteriors and boosting campus security as a result of the incident.

On June 6, Garfield High School Junior Amarr Murphy-Paine was killed as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

Seattle police officers determined that an altercation took place on school grounds prior to the shooting at the school. “This violence has deeply affected us and re-injured our already grieving community still grappling with the impact of similar acts of gun violence,” Jones said in an update on Tuesday. “We are committed to taking concrete steps to enhance the safety of our school environments.”

This summer, Seattle Public Schools officials will consider safety changes to its schools. One of the considerations is requiring clear backpacks in campus buildings. The cost of these bags can range from $15 to $50 for name brand backpacks.

The district is also considering requiring identification badges on school premises and closing campuses for lunch.

The district may also consider increasing security throughout Seattle schools and boost patrols from the nonprofit Neighborhood Safety Organization. The Center Square asked if district will consider having Seattle police officers on campus, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

The plans to address safety concerns across Seattle schools comes as district officials work to address a $104 million budget deficit. The district is set to consolidate 70 elementary schools into about 50 “well-resourced” ones starting in the 2025-2026 school year in order to fix the budget.

However, in the Tuesday update, Jones said the upcoming school board meeting on Wednesday will not include a proposed school closure list. 

Instead, the school board will vote on the well-resources schools plan before winter break in December.