INAUGURATION WEEK: Student walkouts

The Seattle Public Schools administration has sent SPS families a note saying they’ve heard school walkouts are likely on Friday. No specific schools were mentioned. But overnight, we received this:

I am a student at Madison Middle School writing to inform you of a walkout happening January 20th at Madison Middle School.

This will occur 6th period, or 1:30. We will walk from Madison, down California, and then to the Junction and back. It would be helpful if you could post the walkout on the blog to spread the word.

Thank you for your time,
A Madison Student

Here is what SPS sent families (thanks to those who forwarded it to us):

We have heard from some principals and through social media channels that our middle and high school students may choose to participate in a planned walkout on Inauguration Day, Friday, January 20. This call to action is not endorsed or sanctioned by the school district. The “National Student Walkout Against Trump” has been organized by a group called Socialist Students.

In November, ten thousand of our students safely walked out of school in response to the presidential election results. The district supports students’ rights to express their views in a peaceful manner. However, when civic engagement includes missing class, there are appropriate and standardized consequences. Students should understand that if they choose to participate in the January 20 walkout, they will receive an unexcused absence per board policy.

Board Policy 3121 (pdf)

Superintendent Procedure 3121 (pdf)

Following an unexcused absence, students do not have the right to make up school work. Any make up is at the discretion of the principal and classroom teacher. The opportunity to make up work will depend on the course syllabus and other factors. If students do choose to walk out, you will receive a notice from the individual school. At this time, it is hard to predict how many schools and students will participate, if any.

Educators and other school staff have been asked to remain at school. Staff participation in the January 20 walkout, for reasons other than ensuring the safety of our students, will be treated as a personnel matter.

Finally, any time we know of a planned walkout, the district’s Safety and Security department works very closely with the Seattle Police Department (SPD). We are already in contact with SPD regarding this potential event.

In closing, if you have questions or concerns regarding the potential January 20 walkout you can send them to or direct them to your child’s school principal.

65 Replies to "INAUGURATION WEEK: Student walkouts"

  • PSPS January 17, 2017 (9:20 am)

    It’s humorous how the school district states “standard policies” to deal with what is an unquestionably unprecedented situation: Our transformation into a fascist state.

  • Norma January 17, 2017 (9:27 am)

    I will pray for safety and a good experience for our young people.  I would be marching with the women if my health allowed me to.  But I will be rooting for all of the marchers.  It’s a way to be heard, to join together so we don’t feel so alone,  and to bolster our spirits in the realization that even when things seem dark there are many really good people in America.  Stay peaceful and stay focused on the goal.  The solution may not come quickly so never, ever give up! 

    To the school leaders – We know you have to be consistent and follow the rules but we hope your goal is always to give hope and foster learning in our precious young people.

  • JC January 17, 2017 (9:37 am)

    Kids have a right to express their political opinion or views, but why do they need to disrupt classes and other student’s time who don’t want to walk out?  Why don’t they organize this and do this after school hours?

    • Oakley34 January 17, 2017 (1:47 pm)

      Speaking generally, protest is meant to be disruptive…it isn’t supposed to be convenient.

  • JT January 17, 2017 (9:45 am)

    Students walking out of active classrooms while asking the taxpayers to put more money into their education?   Wow!

    • WSB January 17, 2017 (10:09 am)

      No, they are not asking taxpayers to put MORE money into their education. This isn’t an education-funding rally but on that issue, the current problem is that the Legislature is illegally underfunding schools – not spending on them what the state legally is supposed to.

      • JT January 17, 2017 (1:34 pm)

        JC got.    Of course this walkout isn’t about funding.  The students that are walking don’t care about who is paying for their education or whether that should be respected.

        • Paul January 17, 2017 (3:14 pm)

          JT – The assertion that the students that are walking out don’t care or respect for who is paying for their education is a bit disingenuous-I am sure that the generalization does not hold true.A more accurate representation may be that and some (many?) other tax payers feel disrespected and hence you question the investment in theses students education. 

    • JC January 17, 2017 (10:22 am)

      I think what JT is trying to say is the schools are asking for more money so these kids to get a good education and yet they decide to miss valuable class time to protest an election that’s already said and done.  I agree, this has nothing to do with the funding.   Maybe instead of protesting what’s already done, maybe stay in class and learn how our election process works or maybe figure out a way to positively work together.  I would rather see that then kids walking around during school hours yelling profanity because they disagree on who our president is going to be.

      • WSB January 17, 2017 (10:46 am)

        Yes, the election is over. Its ramifications – whatever you think about them – are yet to come. That’s what organizers say this is about. (Link goes to one of many pages online about the national walkout. The note we received from the Madison student did not include any links nor anything more than what we published above, so we’ll have to see on Friday what participants have to say for themselves.)

        • Rick January 18, 2017 (7:13 am)

          Yeah,I’m going to protest over something that hasn’t happened yet, but could.  Oooh, the endless possibilities!  Looks like I’m going to a very busy boy. For a loooong time.

      • Oakley34 January 17, 2017 (1:49 pm)

        …and having that desire/expectation/view is totally within your rights, as it is withing these children’s right to express themselves as to their view etc…

      • Paul January 17, 2017 (3:31 pm)

        JC – It is possible that these students are applying exactly what they have learned in school about the political process, that at least some of them have strongly held beliefs or fears about the coming four years, and that they can effectuate change by creating visibility and using their voices.

    • Jon Wright January 17, 2017 (2:40 pm)

      Maybe the experience protesting something they feel passionate about and the resulting civic engagement will be a better lesson than anything they could get in the classroom.

  • s c January 17, 2017 (9:45 am)

    “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, 

    but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

    ― Elie Wiesel

    • Guy Olson January 17, 2017 (2:43 pm)


    • Mike January 17, 2017 (8:05 pm)

      Wonder how my grandfather who was part of the 120th Evacuation Hospital, U.S. Army, which helped free and save the lives of thousands at Buchenwald (where Elie Wiesel was) would feel about that quote.  My gut tells me he’d tell the kids they’re incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to have quality education and don’t waste that opportunity.

  • Chuck Jacobs January 17, 2017 (10:45 am)

    Just to be clear, it is illegal and just plain wrong for students to take an unexcused absense. This from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website:

    “Truancy (Becca Bill) and Compulsory Attendance

    Attendance is important for academic success, and unexcused absences may be an early warning sign for unaddressed problems with school and future dropout. When youth fail to attend school, they are considered truant.

    Washington law requires children from age 8 to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or to receive home-based instruction (homeschooling) as provided in subsection (4) of RCW 28A.225.010. Children who are 6- or 7-years-old are not required to be enrolled in school. However, if parents enroll their 6- or 7-year-old, the student must attend full-time. Youth who are 16 or older may be excused from attending public school if they meet certain requirements.”

     It is the students responsibility, their job if you will, to attend class and get the education that the taxpayers are providing for them. Further, if your cable was out or you had sewage backing up, you would probably not be so supportive if the repairman was taking the day off to protest.

    Parents whose kids are taking part in this should be aware that this is not so much a protest against President Trump and his policies, as it is a protest against socialism. From the Socialist Students website:

    Socialist Students is an initiative launched by student members of Socialist Alternative, the party of Seattle’s socialist city councilmember Kshama Sawant.  We are young people who see the crisis of student debt, the lack of good paying jobs, and our declining living standards as being entirely connected to the crisis of capitalism.  We believe that capitalism is a system based on exploitation of the many for the profit of a few billionaires. This system can no longer meet the needs of young and working people across the world.

    • Chuck Jacobs January 17, 2017 (1:11 pm)

      Sorry, I meant that this is a protest against Capitalism, sponsored by a socialist organization. They will use your son or daughter’s participation as grist for the mill to further their cause.

    • Jon Wright January 17, 2017 (2:45 pm)

      And Rosa Parks not giving up her seat was contrary to some Alabama state statute, too. Maybe you could get out there and start making citizen’s arrest.

  • CanDo January 17, 2017 (11:01 am)

    There are a lot of ways to learn in this life.  Sitting in a classroom staring at a teacher is one and another is participating during an unprecedented historic time of civic revolt.   Active learning can produce some of the best taught lessons.  Totally support these kids!

  • John January 17, 2017 (11:05 am)

    Did the Seattle Public Schools follow their policy last time? 

    Have ten thousand of their students been given “unexcused absence per board policy”  for the November walk out?

    • JC January 17, 2017 (11:14 am)

      Good question.  Would love to hear the answer on that and see the data.

  • Jason January 17, 2017 (11:32 am)

    My son goes to Madison and did walk out last time and did receive an ‘unexcused absence’. I know a portion of the kids that walked last time did so just to get out of school early and weren’t protesting anything. This march sounds like it is out and back to the school which wasn’t the case last time. I don’t support the walkout. Hold an assembly, let their voices be heard, but do so within the school grounds.

    • JC January 17, 2017 (1:55 pm)

      An assembly is an excellent idea.  Here’s what bothers me:  My son is not interested in participating and is afraid of retaliation from other students because he doesn’t want to be involved.   He is begging me to let him out early  or stay home in fear of this retaliation from students who show hatred.  How are schools dealing with that?

  • lookingforlogic January 17, 2017 (11:35 am)

    Actions  and consequences, cause and effect.   I understand their concerns, I’m not sure of a solution but I’m  not ignoring it either. This has many layers of instruction from management (allow/not allow), CEOs(reaction to disruptions), supply chain(transportation and deliveries received or undeliverable, payroll (law enforcement), budgets,  parenting controls and that’s just the private sector.  Young people are on the future debt hook and they deserve their fears acknowledged, we require them to prepare for their future with certain skills but do not give them the resources to perform and saddling them with absurd debts and systematic oppression of peers, so that a few may profit, will not result in the America that I was born into.   

  • Bonnie January 17, 2017 (11:46 am)

    I told my daughter she can walk out if she wishes and feels it is important to her.  That being said, I also told her to not get in trouble and do not cause trouble.  They may not be old enough to vote but they have a voice.  

  • Eddie January 17, 2017 (12:36 pm)

    Consequences. What a concept.

    I think the most salient point I’ve read in this thread is that the kiddies should make sure they know and support the announced purpose of the demonstration. Walking out blindly thinking one thing, or nothing, when in fact the March supports something different seems ill advised.

  • ScubaFrog January 17, 2017 (12:42 pm)

    This is fantastic.  These kids are making a much more potent statement walking out of school to protest.  We’re raising conscious, intelligent, educated children in our blue states.

    To the naysayers:  Your comments are un-American.  Full stop. 

    Russia and Corporate America won this one.  For now.  I trust our Intelligence community, our election was tampered with.   Our democratic republic is under threat from an aggressive foreign power, sadly America’s new “leader” appears to have been compromised by said threat.  America must continue peaceful protest.

    • JC January 17, 2017 (2:46 pm)

      Hate to burst your bubble Scubafrog, but Russia did not interfere with this.  It’s already been proven over and over and yet, the other side can’t stand the fact they lost and are trying to put the blame on others instead of themselves, because that fits their agenda.  Trump wasn’t my choice either, but whether we like it or not, he is our next President and instead of hatred that’s spewing from the other side with protests and hatred, how about we find peaceful resolutions and work together.  We as parents need to demonstrate to our kids that, not go out and yell profanity and stir up people’s angers.  Things don’t always go our way, and we have to just learn to accept and work together in a positive way. 

      • Paul January 17, 2017 (4:01 pm)

        Hate to burst your bubble Scubafrog, but Russia did not interfere with this.  It’s already been proven over and over and yet, the other side can’t stand the fact they lost and are trying to put the blame on others instead of themselves, because that fits their agenda.

        We know that our Intelligence Agencies have come to a different conclusion then what you are stating about Russia. That said, you may well be right about the Democrats not taking responsibility for losing the election. Maybe they picked the wrong candidate, maybe it was the wrong platform, maybe it was something else. The fact remains that Russia did interfere in our election process, however my personal opinion is that it was not enough to change the results. 

        Trump wasn’t my choice either, but whether we like it or not, he is our next President and instead of hatred that’s spewing from the other side with protests and hatred, how about we find peaceful resolutions and work together.

        Trump wasn’t my choice either and as said earlier, he will be the president. I personally am not sure what the next steps are for liberals. On one hand, they could act like grown ups and work together. On the other hand they could be the Republican Party of the last eight years and simply be anti-trump. Watching from the side lines I would say, that being _anything_ anti-obama worked pretty well for the republicans.

        We as parents need to demonstrate to our kids that, not go out and yell profanity and stir up people’s angers.  Things don’t always go our way, and we have to just learn to accept and work together in a positive way. 


        • Andy January 18, 2017 (8:12 am)

          Well said, Paul. Your post displays what I consider to be rare common sense and good advice.

        • ScubaFrog January 18, 2017 (10:34 am)

          Paul it’s sad that you want to silence our childrens’ voices.

          “Just shut up and accept it!” is what you’re saying (to all Americans).


      • Seattlite January 17, 2017 (4:14 pm)

        JC…Another excellent comment. 

        • JC January 18, 2017 (10:14 am)

          Thank you.

      • MSW January 18, 2017 (9:57 am)

        Amen!  JC. 

      • ScubaFrog January 18, 2017 (10:40 am)

        JC, America’s intelligence agencies disagree with you.

        America’s intelligence agencies (17 of them) have stated that ‘Russia interfered with the election’.

        With all due respect, I won’t entertain your conspiracy theory for .00001 second.  I’ll take America’s intelligence findings over your opinion 10/10 times.

  • S January 17, 2017 (12:45 pm)

    Stay in school. Do your walkabout after school. 

  • Conjunction Junction January 17, 2017 (12:46 pm)

     Agree with Bonnie, I will tell my sons, one at Madison and one in HS, that they can protest, if they mean it (they are not allowed to trivialize the importance of this by “tagging along”). 

    Agree with Cando, lots of ways to learn and a walk out is certainly a unique learning situation. 

    Agree that they should receive the consequences of walking out by receiving an unexcused absence, which is probably inconsequential, one period of the day.  Protesters often have to pay in some way, one chooses the risks in exchange for the reward of speaking their conscience.

    Agree with the effort that all the administrators go to, to keep the kids safe (on or off campus) and respect the students, while staying neutral.

    Chuck says  “Further, if your cable was out or you had sewage backing up, you would probably not be so supportive if the repairman was taking the day off to protest.”  I would have to support the repairman in any sanctioned activity, whether they were sick, or having a baby, or on jury duty, or protesting.  That is why companies have a crew, because employees all have certain rights and customers have certain expectations that don’t have to be met by individuals. 

    Attendance rules are there to show clear expectations to parents, that may not know any better, and help teachers to plan with consistency.  This is an extremely unique situation AND a great learning opportunity, one that, if the student is serious about their intent, they will never forget.  So many parents in WS have no trouble letting a child miss a day for vacation, complainers in this thread should consider start looking at that issue instead.

  • 2 Much Whine January 17, 2017 (12:59 pm)

    I’m 56 and that single unexcused absence I got in seventh grade haunts me to this day.  If that wasn’t on my permanent record I could have been somebody.  <sarcasm>

    • Moose January 17, 2017 (2:32 pm)

      Thank you too much whine! Your names great and so is your comment. Appreciate the chuckle. 

    • prayforrain January 18, 2017 (3:20 pm)

      I was just thinking that the students who don’t participate in this will have another forgettable day.  Those who do will have an experience they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.  

  • Jenny January 17, 2017 (1:24 pm)

    Go for it, kids! If they care enough to risk an unexcused absence and stand up for what they believe in in an organized and peaceful fashion, we should support them in this unique learning experience. 

  • The more things change January 17, 2017 (2:04 pm)

    Flyers were on the light poles in front of WSHS at the beginning of the month–no work, no school, all meet at Westlake and take over the city. 

    If it rains, I think that the urgency of demonstrating will diminish. 

  • onion January 17, 2017 (2:05 pm)

    In order to be effective, a protest needs to be heard and recognized. With all of the protests and other activities taking place on Friday and Saturday, my guess is that a West Seattle middle and high school walkout will be lucky to even receive much citywide attention. If my child expressed a desire to protest, I would recommend they join the Women’s March on Saturday, but stay in school on Friday afternoon. (I hope to be there myself.) The classes and lessons otherwise missed will benefit society more than this particular walkout.

  • T Rex January 17, 2017 (2:50 pm)

    Sad that these kids have been taught what politics they know and understand by their left sided teachers and parents, they know of no other way. Capitalism help build the great country. Once it goes away, everything in your life as you know it will be completely different. 

    Protest away , its you right.  That we can agree on. 

    • JT January 17, 2017 (3:09 pm)

      The word “right” is thrown around way too freely.  There is no “right” to skip classes and disrupt the other students and the  teacher’s lesson plan.  Do the crime, do the time.

      • JC January 18, 2017 (10:12 am)

        Agree – what bothers me is there are students who don’t want to go out and yet, are being “forced” to.  And if they don’t they fear retaliation because they will be looked upon as a Trump support or someone who doesn’t fit the liberal agenda.   So they are stuck going out with this kids and listening them yell profanity etc and have an unexcused absence.  How are the schools going to handle this??   My kid does not want to go out and join the protest.  He would rather stay in class and not risk that unexcused absence and yet he fears retaliation and being bullied by the students.  And no, he’s not into politics and is like most of us, except, move on and work together in a positive manner.

        • prayforrain January 18, 2017 (3:21 pm)

          Nobody’s making your son protest.  

  • fiz January 17, 2017 (2:54 pm)

    Show disrespect to the person if you must, but do not show disrespect to the office of the presidency.   Inauguration into the position will happen whether kids are in school or on the streets.

    It is sad that even one student should feel unsafe for not walking out.  Peer pressure can be vicious.

    • HelperMonkey January 17, 2017 (3:08 pm)

      Trump himself has shown nothing but disdain for the office of the presidency. why should anyone show any respect to him when he has shown no respect for this country, its constitution or its people? 

  • WSJoe January 17, 2017 (3:38 pm)

    Y’all realize this isn’t a protest against Trump, but a protest against the Americans who exercised their right to vote, and voted a candidate into office.  Would you be so willing if a Hillary walkout was created to bust #PantSuitNation?  And the Elementary Schools  are getting in on it, by filtering the event being shown on tv during classes.  It’s an American democratic event, not a political sideshow.

  • wshs teacher January 17, 2017 (4:11 pm)

    FYI: the flyers going around school call for the walkout to start at 12pm, not 1:30.  I don’t know which is correct. 

  • Trick January 17, 2017 (4:19 pm)

    “We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided”        via our PEOTUS Trump

    So, I guess the students are practicing their civil rights protected by the constitution.         How is that a negative if you believe in “self-liberty and justice for all?”.

    I guess we should just ignore the protests of Civil rights, Vietnam war, Iraq war because they had  no place  in our country’s history as  being relevant. 

  • JT January 17, 2017 (8:32 pm)

    >>> protected by the constitution<<<? ?   Show us where in the Constitution it addresses disrupting schools because one is unhappy.   Don’t confuse the right of freedom of assembly with what is contemplated here.

  • BW January 17, 2017 (9:27 pm)

    This blue state has proven that it has no idea how to educate children for the booming economy that’s at our doorstep.  We can only get 30% native born Washingtonian qualified to get a technical degree or higher.  Meanwhile Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook are forced to import thousands of H1-B visa workers to fill high paying jobs. 

    I have no doubt that a few intelligent students will ignore this noise and remain focused on their acendemic achievement.

    The table has never been set with greater abundance.  For those that sacrifice and strive the spoils will follow.

    • Seattlite January 18, 2017 (1:03 pm)

      BW — Dr. Ben Carson’s mother said these wise words to Dr. Carson: “… He (Dr. Ben Carson) said his mother was a domestic who cleaned beautiful homes. One day she asked him if he would rather live in those nice houses or the house in which he and his brother lived in Detroit. She told him that only he could decide the type of home he would eventually live in by how much he studied in school and the choices he made for his life….”  By Cal Thomas

  • CAM January 17, 2017 (10:45 pm)

    As somebody with no stake in the game either way and assuming (based on context) that those commenting here are adults, I would think the best thing adults in these kids’ lives could offer them would be some calm and perspective. Perspective in terms of the reality of how choosing to walk out for one day will impact the rest of their lives, rather than perspective on what those same adults think of their motives or the quality of their opinions. These kids could probably use a steadying hand more than being shackled to a desk. Tolerance and respect isn’t a one-way street and is not solely reserved for individuals over the age of 18. 

  • The more things change January 18, 2017 (12:23 pm)

    What is the age that SPS allows students to dismiss themselves without guardian permission? 11?

  • JK January 18, 2017 (3:21 pm)

    I don’t have any kids and I pay a lot of taxes. I am happy it is going towards bringing up a generation that seems more conscious of what is happening than many of the adults. I only hope they retain some of this idealism and morality as they grow up. To those of you condemning them, my only consolation if we degenerate towards a fully fascist state would be  to see the look on your faces when they come for you and there is no one left to protest for you.

    • JT January 18, 2017 (5:27 pm)

      JK – It’s way too early in the process for that kind of extreme rhetoric.  If this is going to be the standard reaction to everything that will be headed our way in the next four years, these kids are going to be missing a lot of school.  There are better ways to effect political change than by harming yourself and those around you.

  • prayforrain January 18, 2017 (3:29 pm)

    The district needs to stick to its guns and enforce the consequences.  It would be wrong for them to amend their rules for political reasons (which Sawant wants them to do).  

    But if the kids know the consequences and believe it’s important enough to protest anyway, that’s actually pretty awesome.  It takes guts and conviction.  

    I’ll tell my kids to weigh the options and do what they think is right.  (But I might tell them that Trump does not give a damn what Seattle thinks and to take that into the equation.)  

  • SG January 18, 2017 (5:49 pm)

    I would just like to clarify the walkout at Madison is not associated with any organizations and was started by a group of students to show adults that kids are listening and even if we can’t vote, we care about the future of our nation. We will be impacted by this administration and the 6th and 7th graders will not be able to vote in the next election cycle either. We are only walking out for one hour of our school day and will be right on time to 7th period.
    A Madison Student

    • CW January 20, 2017 (6:46 am)

      Good to hear from a student actually involved in it. Well put. Be safe out there.

  • Indie January 20, 2017 (7:51 am)

    The alternative of having no public school funding is worse than missing 40 minutes of a singular school day, this walkout is to alert people of that.

    -the original Madison’s Students peer

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