Monday, July 28, 2014


Judge finds First Amendment applies to Seattle Public Schools

Case #13-2-42159-3 SEA, King County Superior Court, Judge Kimberley Prochnau

For more information
,contact Arrestee/press contact Leith Jasinowski-Kahl at (206) 940-3807.or contact Attorney Larry Hildes at (360) 599-4339.

Three of 4 Africatown supporters arrested at the Horace Mann School last November won yesterday (July 25, 2014) an appeal of a banning order from the Seattle Public Schools that had barred them from all School District property and School District meetings for one year.

Judge Kimberley Prochnau ruled today that SPS needed to follow the First Amendment and restore the arrestees' Constitutional rights.

Speaking to the SPS attorney Ronald Boy, the Judge said there is "a paucity of law supporting the School District because they know there is no law that supports their position."

Calling the arrestees "holdover tenants," the Judge reprimanded the school district for confusing its role as a landlord at a particular building with its overarching role as a public agency focused on education that is subject to the First Amendment and the Public Meetings Act.

Judge Prochnau also questioned te legality of the review hearing required by the school district where Safety Director Larry Dorsey presided over the initial appeal of his own decision.

Omari Tahir-Garrett said, "We have put a hole in the school-to-prison pipeline by defeating School District Attorney Ron English's attempt to silence us."

Larry Hildes, attorney for the arrestees, said, " We are extremely gratified that our clients' right to speak their conscience has been restored and the the Court reminded the School District that they are subject to public speech, assembly, petition to redress grievance and the Public Meetings Act's Appearance of Fairness Doctrine, even if they wish they were not."

Thursday, December 12, 2013




Seattle Public Schools appears to continue doing everything it can to pretend that African Americans in Seattle don’t exist.

For several years now, a broad coalition of Seattle’s African American community and its supporters have been (alongside the Federal Justice Department) calling out this School District for its over-50-year-long record of absolute failure to serve the educational needs of its African American constituents. The More 4 Mann coalition even mobilized volunteers, free of charge, to activate an impressive array of programs in the public Horace Mann School Building, which the District had not used since 2009.

This August, the District claimed that it wanted to embrace and enter into partnership with this pro public education grassroots civil initiative, and engaged the More 4 Mann Coalition in several months of dialogue. The District and the Coalition convened a community task force that issued a progressive set of recommendations in favor of African American inclusion and involvement, both intellectual and manual, in the renovation of the Horace Mann Building, as well as in the curriculum and programming to be provided in that building when its renovation is complete. The task force also recommended a series of mitigating measures to prevent any complete displacement of the Africatown community from that historical address, either during OR after renovation. The District then signed a letter of its intent to adhere to these task force recommendations.

Apparently, an old guard faction within the District then proceeded to reassert power, countermand the pragmatism of the Superintendent from LA, and to dictate his next actual moves as well as those of the Seattle Police. Electricity to the building was unilaterally shut off on November 9th, which interrupted many of our programs. Those programs which managed to continue were then also interrupted on November 19th, when Seattle Police raided the building without eviction notice or search warrant, unilaterally arresting three programmers (including a task force member) and one member of the general public who happened to be visiting the building at the time.

While under arrest, these four were all handed an “Exclusion” flier by a representative of the District, which claims that they are forbidden to attend any School District meeting or set foot on any District property for one year, but that they may appeal this decision to an internal hearing process under “Board procedure F44.01”. This is clearly an attempt to prevent the More 4 Mann Coalition from presenting public grievances to our government, especially as it came only six days after another SPS “Admonishment” flier, which threatened to exclude a More 4 Mann task force member from School Board meetings if he made any more public criticisms of the District´s powerful and influential, but apparently incompetent General Counsel Ron English.

Naturally, our coalition and its attorney have appealed these SPS fliers and demanded a public hearing. The District agreed to set this hearing for 3 PM tomorrow, Thursday December 12th, at the John Stanford Building.

However, the District has just informed us this evening, the night before the hearing, that not only have they already, in effect, rendered their decision as to its outcome, but that…

While we cannot consider this to be a legitimate hearing under such conditions, we shall still attend it to show our respect for civil procedure as community volunteers behind the School District’s stated mission of education and opportunities for all.

We therefore encourage all members of the press and the public at large to show up and witness this kangaroo court in action:

Tomorrow, December 12th, 2013, 3PM
Safety and Secuity conference room on the first floor of the
Seattle Public Schools
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence
2445 3rd Avenue South

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Arrested Development of SPS

Tuesday, November 18, 2013 around noon police arrived at the Horace Mann School with SWAT, paddy wagons, police in SPD cars, and police on bikes to clear the Horace Mann building of its occupants. At the time, only 4 people, running a small radio station, remained in the building. The police presence to extract 4 people could be called excessive with officers knocking down doors with rams and climbing in through roof top hatches. How much money did they spend on this exercise? (video of the events:

The arrestees were taken at gunpoint with more than 20 officers present. Putting up no fight, they were taken to the east precinct where they were released with threats from police of impending charges from Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney, and given a letter that banned them from SPS properties including public meetings.

Despite desperate media attempts to paint the occupants as violent, the More4Mann participants at Horace Mann have remained peaceful. Putting forth a message of equality and equity in Seattle Public School.

More for Mann’s main concerns being:
1) Disproportionality in discipline and racial inequity in Seattle Public Schools
2) The mismanagement of the 1.2 billion levy that is contributing little to no dollars to dealing with disproportionality and racial inequality in Seattle Public School and is allocating less than $20,000 to minority contractors for SPS capitol projects
3) Ronn English, an infamous school district attorney who continues to implement questionable practices and policies that border line corruption

While this story is traumatic and very real to black community it is not an isolated incident, but instead seems to be a part of the pedagogy and strategy of Seattle Public Schools to continue to allow black and brown students to be marginalized and disenfranchised.

After nearly 40 years of operation, the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) announced the closure of the American Indian Heritage Middle College High School, a.k.a. Indian Heritage, located at 1330 N. 90th Street, Seattle, WA.

José Banda the Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools presented a public statement last July 2012 expressing commitment to consult with the Native community on ‘next steps’ in consideration of revitalizing the Indian Heritage, the pending BEX Levy, demolition of the Indian Heritage facilities, and the preservation of the murals created by Andrew Morrison. Instead the Indian Heritage and Native students suffered continued decline in 2012-2013 being reduced to digital learning, no Native-focused instruction, no Native-infused curriculum, and a new instructor unfamiliar to Native students, parents, and community. The Native community proposals and concerns addressing these drastic changes have been ignored by SPS.

After the May rally to save the Indian Heritage program SPS had met with Native community members and said the Native students would be temporarily relocated to Lincoln High School during construction of the new school, that SPS would work with them in revitalizing Indian Heritage, that the murals would be preserved, and Indian Heritage would come back to the new school. Instead SPS claims the Indian Heritage was eliminated because there were ‘not enough kids’, but SPS never contacted the students about the plan and made no effort to recruit new students, the Native students have now been forced to assimilate into an entirely different program and relocated to Northgate Mall.

It is unconscionable that resources been completely withdrawn from Native programming and services, while SPS acknowledges the statistical facts illustrating disproportionate academic performance, disciplinary action, and highest dropout rates for Native learners.

We want SPS to address why 30% of Native students are in Special Education, we want to know why SPS fails to comply with Individualized Education Program and 504 Basic Plan, and why Native students are underserved and over represented in this area of education. The trajectory for Native learners in SPS is of tremendous concern given the districts decisions to eliminate Indian Heritage and displace current programs functioning at the Indian Heritage facilities.

At this time we will again initiate and voice our opposition with Seattle Public Schools plan to eliminate Indian Heritage. We as a community will invite SPS to listen to our viable plan that includes our recommendations to revitalize the Indian Heritage program by:

• Temporarily relocate the Indian Heritage program to Lincoln High School as planned NOT to Northgate Mall until the new site has been completed in 2017.
• Revitalization of Indian Heritage program at Ingraham H.S. and West Seattle H.S. location
• As SPS is a recipient of Title VII federal funds for enrolled Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native students, we ask that they comply with regulations that include:
         (1) meeting the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of      American Indians and Alaska Natives;
         (2) the education of Indian children and adults;
         (3) the training of Indian persons as educators and counselors, and in other professions serving Indian people; and
         (4) research, evaluation, data collection, and technical assistance.

Thus as Title VII Part A states, “ensuring that programs that serve Indian children are of the highest quality and provide for not only the basic elementary and secondary educational needs, but also the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of these children.” Currently there is absolutely no demonstration of this in SPS relocation program.

• We recommend that all the murals that were made by artist Andrew Morrison (Apache/Haida) be preserved and incorporated in its original form into the new school (and not be replicated as Mr. Morrison requests).
• Rename the Wilson-Pacific School ‘Robert Eaglestaff School thereby keeping a promise made to the Native community in 1996 by John Stanford and echoed by Norm Rice.
• Provide support for new a ‘Native Heritage’ AS-I school with Native focused instruction/curriculum and culturally responsive services.
• Preserve the Sacred Site of the Duwamish Licton Springs.

Further, we continue to ask Seattle Public Schools to act accountably and quickly to remedy the impact of disproportionality and educational inequality upon black children and youth in SPS.

We continue to ask that SPS partner with Africatown Innovation Center for Education to develop culturally responsive and relevant curriculum.

We continue to ask that SPS partner with AICE to provide teachers in SPS with trainings that engage them around best practices and strategies for teaching black children.

We will not rest until every black and brown child and youth in Seattle Public Schools are educated at the level that all children deserve with the same opportunities and rights that are inalienable for all people.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Building Update

From Leith B. Jasinowski-Kahl: LET THIS BE KNOWN: I am a More for Mann Coalition Task Force member, seated to discuss the future use of the Horace Mann building with the school district, as are two of my co-workers, Gabriel Prawl and Purnell Mitchell. My two co-workers have asked me to post the following on behalf of all three of us: WE HAVE NOT AGREED TO MOVE, AND WE ARE ANGRY THAT MANY OF OUR TEACHERS HAVE BEEN PUSHED OUT INTO THE COLD BY DISTRICT THREATS AND INTIMIDATION! We don't think it's right that they were forced to shut down their classes or face the threat "tresspass" charges from the district. It isn't right that the school district refused to sign the lease on the interim space it offered them. It isn´t right that the school district hasn´t cleaned the mold, filth and birds nests out of that space. It isn´t right for them top make our teachers teach in the rainy streets. It isn´t even right that the school district attorney Ron English and the board members who listen to him are bullying Superintendent Banda into threatening to throw the cops at our community, and are punishing Banda for even convening our task force at all. Furthermore, the issues around jobs have still not even begun to be addressed. Furthermore, it isn´t right that the school districts new school enrollment zone maps seem to have been drawn primarily for the interests of real estate speculators rather than students, parents and educators. It isn´t right that these speculators want to profit by removing all working class people from the Central Area, starting with the removal of Black working people in particular. NONE OF THIS IS RIGHT! AND THAT IS WHY THE HORACE MANN BUILDING IS NOW PROTECTED BY THE MORE 4 MANN COALITION´S COMMUNITY PICKET LINE!

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Power of "We"

The community mobilization around the Africatown Innovation Center (a portion of the More4Mann Campaign) has reached a climactic moment of celebration.

Many across Seattle are working on developing solutions for the African-American education crisis and the opportunity gap. This weekend WE seek to hear all voices under one roof so that TOGETHER we can take even greater strides towards shifting the paradigm around the education of our children and youth.

The past few days of the campaign have been both energizing and challenging. We have received a gracious amount of support from Superintendent Banda and his staff, but that has not come without backlash from certain segments of the Seattle community. Some community groups, who lack understanding of the AIC’s mission, have moved to pressure the School Board to undo all the progress that we have made alongside the Superintendent over the last 4 months. Yesterday there were several attack articles in the media that lacked substantive understanding of the campaign and the projects community members and educators have been hard at work developing.

In response, we will hold a press conference at 2pm this Saturday.

We will announce the positive educational outcomes and programs that our community will offer and our exciting forthcoming partnership with Seattle Public Schools. Come and learn about many of the successful programs created and organized by parents and community members!

We need every parent, child, youth, and community member that is able to attend in support.  We want to continue to show the unified community of African-American parents, educators and students working together to take responsibility for the education of our children. 

Now is the time to rectify the past inequities and ineffective methods to educate our children.

We will no longer accept and allow sub-standard resources, results, programs and policies directed to our young scholars.  

The 2012 Seattle Public Schools Data for African-American Students highlights the crisis:
-   Only 48.5% of African-American 10th graders met or exceeded standard for Algebra
-   Only 29.1% of African-American 10th graders met or exceeded standard for Biology
-   26.9% rate for short-term suspensions for African-American middle school students (highest number in the district)

In Seattle Public Schools: 
-   African-American high school students are suspended or expelled more than three times as often as other students
-   In middle school, the racial disparity is greater, with blacks 3 1/2 times more likely to be disciplined than other students, according to district data shared with Reuters.
-   More than a quarter of all black middle school pupils have received short-term suspensions in any given year since at least the 2006-07 academic year, compared with 7.4 percent or less annually for white students, the data shows.
-   African-Americans represent just over 20 percent of the 12,500 high school students in the Seattle district and 18 percent of 8,000 middle school students there, and yet they account for more than 40 percent of all suspensions and expulsions in those schools.
-   The racial disparity in student discipline "is a problem," Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda, who was appointed last May to oversee the district, told Reuters. "It is a concern for us."

We will no longer accept these types of results.

We have amazing parents, students, activists, educators and leaders in our community.  We have resources AND we have the solutions.  We will only accept a narrative that begins to aim for 100% graduation, 100% African and African-American students ready for college and career, and 100% of our students matriculating to post-secondary options with a network of mentors and a strong positive identity in-tact. 

Join us Saturday. Facebook the event. Invite a friend. Bring your children.

If you only have only 1 hour in the day, join us for the Press Conference at 2 pm.
If you have an extra hour- arrive at 1pm and join us for a meal beforehand.

Monday, October 21, 2013

More4Mann Weekend Update

Five Parents, One School

At this weekend's Education Summit Rita Green (President of  the Rainier Beach PTSA) taught us about how five parents can transform any school into to a thriving educational space for all students. Ms. Greene believes that parents are essential to the development and sustainability of a high quality school that enables our students to thrive. She gave us numerous golden nuggets of wisdom regarding student success and district accountability.

The school district is big and many parents find it intimidating. It is hard to know where to start, but Ms. Greene gave us five ways that five parents can begin  to hold their school accountable.

1. Ask the school to provide clear data and information regarding all aspects of education in the building. This includes asking about student grades, standardized test, the success of after-school programs, etc.

2. Respond to surveys. Your voice matters and what you think will make a difference.

3. Attend school board meeting, get on the agenda and testify about what you want to see in your school. Be diligent in your attendance and they will hear you.
4. Hold both your student and their teacher accountable.

5. Work with other parents to tell the school what you want to see happen in the school. Different people have different styles of communication. Do not be afraid to use them all!

Rita was excited to work with Africatown Parent Engagement Action Team to develop a toolkit to distribute to parents and also to help coordinate a monthly potluck event to address issues of black students throughout the district.

Upcoming Events
More4Mann Weekly Meeting
Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 @ 6pm
We will discuss details regarding the building update, program growth and upcoming events. Come and help us continue to develop More4Mann!

Elevate to Educate: Cypher Circle
Date: Friday, October 25, 2013 @ 5pm
Location: Africatown Innovation Center
Local emcees and DJs will gather together in an intergenerational setting to share knowledge through the power of hip-hop. 

All City Black Student Union Gathering
Date: TBD
Location: TBD
In early November we will gather together with BSU leaders from the greater Seattle area to discuss building stronger networks that enable us to better serve our community.

Building Update
More 4 Mann representatives received a lease proposal for Columbia Annex from Seattle Public Schools on Friday, October 18, 2013. There are concerns about the quality of space including reports of mold and rodents. The district had originally offered Van Asselt as an interim location but reneged on that location.

We are currently working with the District to ensure that the space provided is one that is safe and allows us to continuing serving our community with innovative and culturally relevant programming. We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with Seattle Public Schools. We look forward to building dynamic educational institutions that empower our scholars to thrive.