reimagine safety

purpose statement

Reimagine Safety

exists to dismantle police practices that disproportionately affect students of color and negatively impact all students in Renton Schools. We actively build relationships with community and schools to reimagine safety that prevents the school to prison pipeline.


be antiracist

the time is now

believe youth

our story

During the 2019/2020 school year a white male police officer initiated regular visits with students at Tiffany Park Elementary in southeast Renton, Washington. After observing the impact the officer's presense was having on some students and families of color, parents requested a meeting with the officer through school administrators. The meeting occurred on February 11th, 2020. Although many concerns were expressed, visits continued until the school building was temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

Parents maintained contact with school administrators as well as representatives from Renton Police Department (RPD) and Renton School District (RSD). On October 7th, 2020 community demands were sent to RPD and shared with RSD.

More community members expressed interest in working together to end the school to prison pipeline in local schools during the national uprising for Black lives. An expanded group including students, family members, teachers, clergy and community members began meeting in early December 2020 and formed Reimagine Safety with renewed focus on both School Resource Officer (SRO) and non-SRO police interactions on school campuses. The group's updated demands are below.

demands for Renton Police Department & Renton School District

End SRO Contract & Limit Police Interactions

  • end the current SRO contract

  • reinvest funds to increase counselors and/or collaborate with community organizations supporting youth

  • limit police interactions on school campuses

Increase Transparency & Community Engagement

  • involve community in decision making related to police in Renton schools

  • center Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students and family voices

Create District-wide Race & Equity Policy

  • create and implement a Race & Equity policy in order to establish district-wide support and expectations regarding race and equity

  • co-collaborate with other community organizations advocating for the policy


Sample Script and Contacts can be found at:

We demand Renton School District and Renton Police Department participate in a community LED forum, where students, parents, and community members can express their views and concerns regarding SRO’s. As community members, we demand transparency, accountability, and community consideration regarding school resource officers (SRO’s). Call or email the school board members, city officials, and Renton Police Department to let them know about our demands.

local news (click on pictures for full articles)

national news


recommended readings

*Notable quotes:

“Occupy your school; don’t let them appropriate you for their pro-grammed dilapidation. Paint the walls, make them beautiful and to your liking, because beauty incites creation and love, and ugliness attracts hate and annihilation. Transform the schools into creative workshops, into meeting places, into parks of attractive intelligence. Let’s make the schools into fountains of happy knowledge, following the example of the vegetable gardens that the homeless, jobless, and the most deprived have occasionally had the imagination to plant in the big cities, after they’ve smashed up the asphalt and concrete.”

  • Take up space at your school, make it a community space. A place of vulnerability and acceptance - a place where all people are accepted and encouraged to thrive.

“Education’s goal, after all, should really be nothing but autonomy, independence, the creation of the self – without which there are no such things as true mutual aid, authentic solidarity or collectivity without oppression.”

  • Students should feel safe at school and be free of forms of policing to encourage their learning and development. Safety is created by the community and must be reimagined.


The ancient school walls never seem to stop evoking the walls of penitentiaries. The high- placed windows make sure that the student sees nothing but a little bit of the sky, a unique space reserved for the happiness of souls, if not bodies. The body, immobilized in a study hall that quickly turns into a torture chamber, suffers its earthly destiny in the ordinary style… The pedagogues have always affirmed that discipline and the maintenance of order were the necessary conditions for all education.”

  • We cannot expect students to succeed in an environment where they are constantly over policed and discouraged from showing up authentically. Policing as a form of discipline should not be implemented in a place that requires vulnerability to learn. Schools should be a place of complete autonomy and liberation.


Maintained by the fear of having to get around in a prison of tetanus-ridden muscles, com- pressed emotions install between the oppressor and the oppressed a logic of destruction and self-destruction that breaks all forms of enlightened communication.”

  • Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences -- many have had negative experiences with authority, police, and/or ICE. Students cannot succeed in an environment where they feel they are being policed or surveillanced. When we bring police on campus, students feel they must behave a certain way, someone that is not themself.

“How can one excite curiosity when there are so many beings tormented by the anguish of guilt and the fear of sanctions?”

“What despotic and outdated spirit do the pedagogues claim autho- rizes them to erect a tribunal and then cut into such vibrant, lively flesh with the double-edged blade of merit and demerit, honor and dishonor, salute and damnation? What personal neuroses and obsessions do they obey when they dare to blemish with fear and the menace of suspen- sion from school the progress of children and adolescents, who only need attention, patience, encouragement and that affection which carries the secret of obtaining so much by demanding so little?”

“Isn’t it true that the educational system persists in basing itself on the ignoble principle, de- scended from a society which assumed that pleasure only exists on the screens of a sadomasochis- tic relationship between masters and slaves, ”I’m only punishing you because I love you. . . .”?... Judging prevents one from understanding the person one presumes to rehabilitate. The behav-ior of judges, who are themselves scared by the fear that comes with being a judge, redirects to their own ends some of the convicted student’s indispensable qualities, which would have helped the student in his or her long, poetic journey towards autonomy: that is, obstinate determination, a sense of effort, an awakening sensibility, a nimble intelligence, a constantly trained memory, the perception of the living in all forms, and the attentive hold over his or her own conscious-ness that allows the student to perceive what helps in his or her progress, what slows him or her down, what his or her errors are, and what their corrections would be.”

“Each individual possesses his or her own creativity, and that creativity is suffocated when mistakes are treated like punishable offenses. This must no longer be tolerated. There is no such thing as guilt, there are only errors; and errors correct themselves.”

- Raoul Vaneigem

A Warning to Students of All Ages

questions from community members

  1. What RSD and RPD policies allows police involvement in Renton schools?

  2. How did the relationship between Renton Schools and School Resource Officers (SROs) begin?

  3. Who hires SRO officers, and where do those funds exist in the RSD budget?

  4. Have families been surveyed about their interest in/approval of police officers on campus? If not all families, which ones?

  5. If a survey has been conducted, who created the questions and where are the results?

  6. Is an equity lens being used throughout this communication?

  7. What is the role of an SRO?

  8. What is an SRO's role in terms of security?

  9. How has the “success”/effectiveness of SRO relationships been quantified by RPD and RSD?

  10. How are students and families of color with lived experience related to racism and police brutality being centered/privileged in this data?

  11. What is the vetting process for SROs and non-SROs who work at or visit school buildings?

testimonials: lived experience from BIPOC students and family members

“They never bothered me, but honestly their presence was uncomfortable af [as fuck]. Especially because I did Running Start but was part of orchestra at the high school, I always felt like they were eyeballing me when I would come to campus or leave campus since it was outside of normal hours. Once they followed me until I was off the school grounds and then they turned around which was odd.”

  • 2016 Lindbergh High School graduate

“ *starts shaking head* They had no purpose on campus. We already had two security guards. Why did we also need a cop? They made me feel paranoid and uncomfortable. I couldn’t afford car insurance in high school, and I always worried getting pulled over and ticketed [which was common on campus].”

  • 2011 Lindbergh High School graduate

I feel like they didn’t actually do shit except walk around lol at least that’s all i saw the one cop do. I’m sorry I don’t have more useful info... also i forgot about the security guards actually and I thought they were more useful and also cool people so that was helpful for the overall energy, but that’s just my own perspective.”

  • 2014 Lindbergh High School graduate

“... and as for my experience with them, I dont remember much anymore. I just knew they were around which was always strange and wasn't sure what their point was. I was conscious of when I’d see them around the road too, like near the Fairwood Library even but never had any interaction with them. I had a couple friends who said they got pulled over or got tickets from them in the student parking lot for minor things — I dont remember specifics anymore but that it was unfair. I was in Running Start by that point.”

  • 2016 Lindbergh High School graduate

They never did anything to me, but they make me uncomfortable.”

  • 2022 Hazen High School graduate

“I went to Lindbergh High School in 2008-2012. My experience was that they were unfairly targeting BIPOC students and those that were not in honors programs. On top of that they were ineffective in providing “security” (of course...).

  • 2012 Lindbergh High School graduate

“I went to Hazen and graduated in 2010. All of my 4 years we had a security guard lady and another person that was kind of the overall chaperone. Everyone got along with them. They were friendly, and no one seemed to be put off by it. They helped break up fights and talk through things with them. I think only once they had to use excessive force because the kids fighting fought back, but after I graduated they ended up hiring an actual police officer and things just felt more cold.”

  • 2010 Hazen High School graduate

community partners represented by members of Reimagine Safety

community based organizations who inspire us

meetings: what you can expect

Next meeting: TBD

Typical agenda includes:






All students, family and community members who support the Reimagine Safety demands are welcome!

want to endorse Reimagine Safety? sign on as an organization or individual here:

acronym glossary

BIPOC: Black, Indigenous and People of Color

CBO: Community Based Organization

RPD: Renton Police Department

RSD: Renton School District

SRO: School Resource Officer