Update: Officer Audie has resigned from his position. Links to news coverage are at the bottom of the page.
Disability Rights Washington, along with the Every Student Counts Alliance and individual parents and advocates, stands with the Spokane Coalition of Color, the Spokane NAACP, and all of our neighbors and partners of color in condemning the violence perpetrated by a Spokane Public Schools law enforcement officer against students at Ferris High School.
The Every Student Counts Alliance has worked with the Spokane Public School District to address the disproportionate discipline of students of color and students with disabilities in Spokane Public Schools over the last two years, including developing policy and practice to govern school law enforcement officers. We stand aghast at Officer Shawn Audie’s act of violence against a student of color when he placed that student in a chokehold, in apparent violation of those district policies. As reported by local media, Mr. Audie has a violent history in law enforcement that should have precluded him from being hired by the Spokane Public School District. He has no place working with children in our schools.
Our community’s broken trust must be repaired. To this end, we delivered a letter to Superintendent Shelley Redinger demanding accountability for this act of violence. We also demand that the Spokane Public School District take immediate steps to ensure the future safety of all students, including students of color and students with disabilities, with respect to law enforcement officers in school. We ask the District to meet with stakeholders to discuss:
- Creating a process by which our members and other community members will have real input into hiring guidelines for future campus resource officers;
- Creating a process by which our members and other community members will have input into individual hires of campus resource officers;
- Spokane Public Schools’ investigation of this particular use of force, and whether any changes to its complaint and investigation practices are necessary to restore public trust;
- The removal of Shawn Audie from any employment role where he would interact with students; and
- A plan for intensive and ongoing training in implicit bias for all Spokane Public Schools officers.
All students have a right to be safe at school, including students of color and students with disabilities. We call for the Spokane Public School District to work with the community to ensure that right to safety.
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Reporting on this incident:
News on Sean Audie’s resignation: