Chief Sealth High Students Stage Walkout Over Disturbing Texts Promoting Sexual Violence and Harassment

Students at Chief Sealth International High School in Seattle staged a walkout on Friday, protesting against disturbing group text messages that encouraged sexual violence among the school’s football team. According to reports from KIRO Newsradio, the students participating in the protest gathered on the football field for over two hours, demanding action in response to what they view as an ongoing problem of harassment and sexual assault within the school.

Principal Ray Morales expressed his concern for the students’ safety and well-being in a letter posted on the school’s website prior to the walkout. Morales assured the community that the school and athletic teams were taking proactive steps to ensure that young people treat their peers and community members with respect. He also mentioned that the school was considering appropriate discipline and corrective measures.

A senior student from the school, writing anonymously in response to Morales’ message, revealed that some male students on the football team and within the school community had a history of sexual assault, catcalling, harassment, and the use of derogatory slurs towards female and LGBTQ+ students. The student claimed that these individuals had faced minimal consequences for their actions, prompting events like the walkout.

The anonymous student criticized the school’s inaction when it came to safeguarding the female and LGBTQ+ students, especially given the school’s emphasis on students’ physical and mental health. The school had implemented a no-phone policy to support students’ mental health, but this policy seemed contradictory when it came to addressing safety concerns.

The graphic group chat involved at least one varsity player, and the messages discussed explicit sexual violence against female students, some of whom were identified by name. An Instagram page named “chiefsealth walkout” was set up to promote the walkout, with one post receiving over 200 likes. The Instagram page announced that the walkout would feature scheduled speeches and an open mic for students to share their concerns and feelings.

One student commented on the West Seattle Blog, expressing the hope that the walkout would improve the safety of the female and LGBTQ+ community, as they were tired of experiencing constant harassment.

A student shared their personal experience, revealing that an incident had occurred two years ago during middle school, and despite the perpetrator’s presence in the school, no substantial action was taken.

Initially scheduled for October 26, the walkout took place on Friday at 11:50 a.m., as announced on the Instagram page “chiefsealth walkout.”

Seattle Public Schools (SPS), the district that Chief Sealth International High School belongs to, also released a statement addressing the situation. According to KIRO Newsradio, the statement expressed strong disapproval of the inappropriate and graphic group text messages and emphasized the district’s commitment to the safety and well-being of students. SPS condemned all forms of sexual abuse, assault, and violence, pledging to provide a nurturing and safe educational environment for all students.