Seattle Teachers Set An Example For School Districts Everywhere With A Powerful Message

" We take this stand to affirm the value of black lives in Seattle Public Schools. ...Our students' lives matter."

The complications inherent in racial relations, particularly in a society originally built upon the exploitation of people of color, means that there will often be towering opposition to the struggle to change the status quo. The pushback against Black Lives Matter has manifested itself in public and political spheres, and in many schools, in particular, students have been reprimanded for wearing BLM T-shirts or expressing their support for the movement in other ways.

But not all schools are as disapproving or wary of Black Lives Matter. Recently in Seattle, some 2,000 teachers showed their support in a powerful way, organizing a #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool event across the city where they wore BLM T-shirts to voice their solidarity. Teachers also ran discussions with students on institutional racism, taught black history, and held rallies, according to the Associated Press and KING 5 News.


In the event page on Facebook, organizers wrote:

The Seattle Education Association Rep Assembly recently voted UNANIMOUSLY to support educators wearing Black Lives Matter shirts to work on October 19th. We take this stand to affirm the value of black lives in Seattle Public Schools in the face of continued violence and oppression of black people in the US. Our students' lives matter.  

The city-wide event was a remarkable statement by the teachers — not just to their communities, but also to their students, many of whom have seen the movement be rejected by a number of school administrators around the country. 

Bailey Adams, a senior at Garfield High School who is African American, told AP and KING 5 News that it was a life-changing day for her. "All of my years I've been in school, this has never been talked about," she said. "Teachers have never said anything where they're going to back their students of color."

Though some have questioned how appropriate the event was, according to AP and KING 5 News, those who participated by and large expressed enthusiasm for the event. (One teacher who participated, however, posted on the event's Facebook page that her classroom's Twitter account became the target of hate speech and there were calls for her firing.)

So while the event organized by teachers in Seattle clearly affected those against Black Lives Matter, more significantly, it made an impact on the student body — and hopefully set an example for school districts in other parts of the country, too. 

A Plus has reached out to organizers of the event for comment.


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