A police officer now stands sentry every day near the front door at Seattle’s Garfield High School, says the Seattle Times. The school didn’t schedule a basketball game this year against Rainier Beach because of worries that gang feuds might erupt after the game. And classes at Garfield start earlier than at other high schools partly because Principal Ted Howard II doesn’t want his students getting off buses at the same time as rivals from other high schools.
As Seattle struggles with heightened violence attributed to street gangs, city schools are increasingly shaping policies to keep the problem from spreading onto campuses. While officials stress that most of the city’s youth violence does not occur on school grounds and that schools are a haven for many students and an antidote to the problem, they’re implementing new prevention programs, including a stronger police presence in schools. The city, facing a $30 million shortfall, and the school district, staring at a $24 million budget hole, are at an impasse over who should pay what share of the officers’ salaries.