The fact that we are even discussing arming teachers shows that we’re too far gone for my boys to be safe in public school. It's time to start preparing to get out.

The fact that we are even discussing arming teachers shows that we’re too far gone for my boys to be safe in public school. It's time to start preparing to get out.

The status quo is leading to increasingly disastrous results. Inequity, segregation and gun violence in our schools are only increasing. Things have been really bad since literally the beginning of public schooling, and things are continually getting worse.

Just like every school shooting before this one, if this isn’t the wake-up call that permanently changes our perspective and our behavior, then we ourselves have made sure that it’s nothing more than a pointless, senseless, meaningless tragedy.

Put another way, if you don’t do things differently now, then you’re choosing — knowingly — to continue to be complicit. If I don’t do things differently now, I am, too.

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Seattle students rise up and walk out

Five days after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton conceded the 2016 presidential election to Republican Donald Trump — a man who, in case a reminder is necessary, announced his presidential campaign in the same speech in which he called Mexican immigrants "rapists," suggested barring all Muslims from entry into the United States and has been accused of multiple cases of sexual assault and harassment — thousands of Seattle high-school students walked out of class to protest Trump's electoral win. 

All told, more than 5,000 students from 20 high schools and middle schools participated in the #NotMyPresident walkouts and protests, according to KIRO's Graham Johnson

The courage of these students' convictions is beautiful and emboldening — and should be eye-opening for those of us who, unlike the vast majority of these student protesters, actually had a say in the how the 2016 election would shape the future in which these kids must live. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer pointed out the threat that Trump's nativist, Draconian immigration policies pose to the younger generation in particular. 

Trump’s proposals and attitude towards immigrants stirred fear and outrage during the campaign, emotions that are now, belatedly, being voiced on the nation's streets. The president-elect has promoted a ban on Muslim travel into the United States, severe restrictions on legal immigration and a “deportation force” targeting undocumented residents.

Children would likely bear the brunt of Trump’s proposals, if enacted.

About 800,000 undocumented children and youths who were brought to the United States by their parents came out of hiding during President Obama’s administration. Obama issued an executive order in 2012 halting the deportation of immigrant children who arrived before age 16; those children are now known to the government and would be at risk for deportation if Trump rescinds that order.

Trump has also pledged to cut all federal funding to “sanctuary cities” like Seattle. As a sanctuary city, Seattle does not put its resources toward enforcing federal immigration laws, nor do city workers inquire about residents’ immigration status.

Seattle’s immigrant community includes a large concentration of Muslim refugees from East Africa. Trump denigrated Somali immigrants on the campaign trail, and has spoken against accepting non-Christian refugees.

Despite their inability to affect electoral outcomes at the ballot box, these student protestors raised their voices to be heard by those who can. 

Two 12-year-old Latinas from Denny International Middle School walked together with friends, holding signs. Jennifer Garnica's sign read, "Education, not deportation," while her companion, Mariana Ortega, held a sing saying, "Latinas are united."

"We want to change Trump's thoughts about us. We gotta stick together," Ortega said, adding that young Latinas need adults to help represent their interests at the ballot box. "People can vote and they can vote for us since we can't vote."


“We feel we have a candidate who is jeopardizing the country. How can he speak for anybody but himself?" said Bryce Groen, 16, class of 2019.

Even though the students are too young to vote, Groen said, they need to be heard because Trump is shaping the world they are going to inherit.

Kudos to the student protestors of Seattle — and all those across the country — for recognizing injustice when they see it and using their voices to speak on it.


Louie Opatz is a freelance writer living in south Seattle.
See and hear more of his work at