Kent School District
The Kent School District #415 is a public school district in the U.S. state of Washington. The district includes a large area of Kent, a significant portion of unincorporated King County, all of Covington, and portions of Auburn, Black Diamond, Maple Valley, Renton, and SeaTac. Covering 73 square miles (190 km2), the Kent School District has 40 schools (28 elementary schools, six middle schools, two academy schools, and four high schools). With 26,891 enrolled students, it is the 4th largest school district in the state of Washington. The district employs 3,389 staff members, of whom 1,687 are teachers.
- 1 Schools
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Lawsuits
- 4 Teacher Strike
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 References
- 7 External links
|Kent Mountain View Academy||3–12||1997||314||Lions|
|Kent Phoenix Academy||9–12||2007||332||Phoenix|
|Kent Tech Academy||7–12||2005||332||Tech|
For the 2013-2014 school year there were 27,484 students. 52.4% were male 47.6% were female. The racial makeup was 37.8% Caucasian, 20.9% Hispanic, 17.3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 12.2% African American and 0.6% American Indian.
Mark Iversen vs. Kent School District
On July 23, 1997, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington filed a lawsuit against the Kent School District and five administrators on behalf of a former student, Mark Iversen. The suit alleged that the Kent School District and the administration failed to protect Iversen against anti-gay harassment. Also named in the suit were Superintendent Jim Hager, Assistant Superintendent Gwen Dupree, Principal Doug Boushey (Kent Junior High), Ben Dillard (Kent-Meridian High School) and Tom Watson (Kentwood High). The school district denied the allegations.
In the suit, Iversen claimed that he was harassed from the 7th grade at Kent Junior High up to high school at Kent-Meridian. He left Kent-Meridian to attend Kentwood believing things would change, but they did not. Other incidents include:
- He was pushed into lockers with a broomstick and called "fag" while two teachers sat by and did nothing.
- An instructor stated to Mark, "I already have 20 girls in my class. I don't need another."
- A classmate slammed a handwritten note on Mark's chest threatening "You're dead fag."
- A teacher publicly questioned whether Mark was qualified to give blood based on the perception that Mark was gay.
- On numerous occasions, when Mark would fight back verbally, it was Mark who would get into trouble, not the abusers.
- When Mark reported to a teacher the abuse he had been suffering based on his sexual orientation, the teacher became antagonistic toward him, banned him from her classroom, and failed him.
- On paperwork to transfer schools, the principals signed off to "ongoing verbal and physical harassment."
During the lawsuit, it was alleged by a family friend that he was given a subpoena at their place of employment and then had pictures taken without their permission. A witness for the defense who was still a student alleges that he was taken out of classes during the litigation and given breakfast, lunches and coffees for his participation and cooperation. A former boyfriend, who was also called to be a defense witness, claims the district attorneys sent him flowers and gifts for his cooperation, but when it was discovered he and Iversen were back together shortly before settlement talks and trial, he was dropped as a witness. No confirmation on the truth or fiction has been made.
The lawsuit was settled in 1999 for $40,000.00 and a guarantee from the district that there would be training on the subject of anti-gay harassment. The district had refused to add sexual orientation to their harassment policy, stating that their current policy has enough explanation. On 11 September 2002, the district adopted a new policy from RCW 9A.36.080(3) that does include the term "sexual orientation."
There have been numerous stories since the settlement (the most recent occurring in September 2005) about ongoing harassment with students who seek help but the district still ignores them. The Kent School District has been acknowledged nationally for their efforts to combat racial discrimination and diversity for minorities.
Nick Emmett vs. Kent School District
In 2000, student Nick Emmett of Kentlake High School published a website on his private America Online account that depicted students and teachers being voted on who would die. Students in the school knew about the site and many encouraged the participation. Many wanted to be voted as the next “victim” however staff were not amused and demanded Emmett close the website. Many students were suspended and the ACLU took on the case.
It was ruled that the school district could not punish students for their freedom of speech outside of school and was told it could do nothing about it. The site has since been removed.
NAACP vs. Kent School District
On November 5, 2004, the Seattle branch of the NAACP filed suit against the Kent School District on behalf of 13 families, alleging that district security officers used excessive force against 15 black students.
The suit, filed in King County Superior Court, names the Kent School District, superintendent Barbara Grohe and school security officer Gayle Mangino as defendants.
In the suit, the families say district security officers used metal handcuffs to restrain students, threw them against lockers or on the floor, pulled their hair or used painful pressure holds to force students to comply. The suit also alleges black students were disciplined at a disproportionate rate than other students.
The families also accuse Grohe of negligence, and say she failed to properly supervise district security officers.
Kent School District spokeswoman Becky Hanks said district administrators had not had a chance to thoroughly review the lawsuit, but said the suit was without merit.
The lawsuit was dismissed in May 2005.
Students at Kentridge High School vs. Kent School District (RE: Bible Club)
In April 2003, students at Kentridge High School south of Seattle filed a lawsuit against their school after being blocked from starting a Bible club. The students say their First Amendment rights had been violated by the school district.
September 2002, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that Bible clubs are allowed to seek ASB sponsorship as any other club may lawfully do, be it Chess club or Muslim club. The court made this decision on the basis that it was a government exclusion of beliefs when the Bethel School District in Spanaway, Washington denied students the option of peacefully organizing outside of school hours a few years ago.
Washington State Labor Board vs. Kent School District
In August 2005, the Washington State Labor Board filed suit against the Kent School District for violating labor laws by using special needs children as "slave labor" building IKEA furniture for school employees and their friends and family.
The case was decided in favor of the labor board and an injunction was ordered preventing the school district from having special needs children from performing any activities related to the lawsuit. It is currently pending appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
On August 26, 2009, teachers in the school district went on strike, for reasons including teacher and student rights and less meetings so teachers can spend more time helping their students. Out of 1,700 teachers, 1,500, 86%, agreed on a strike, while 14% did not.
There are many rivalries between schools in such a large district, some more competitive than others.
- Kentwood High School vs Kentridge High School (football)
- Kentlake High School vs Tahoma High School (football)
The schools are located mere miles from each other and the teams generally have very competitive games.
An annual event known as the Cov-Town Throwdown
Continuously battling for the league title
- "Student Enrollment and Demographics". http://www.kent.k12.wa.us. Kent School District. Retrieved 28 July 2015. External link in
- Settlement Reached in Harassment of Gay Student Archived 2007-06-14 at the Wayback Machine.
- KSD policies Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
- RCW 9A.36.080
- alliance for diversity and equity
- Settlement Ends Attempt To Punish Student for Web Site in Washington State
- Kent School District Strike Archived 2009-09-01 at the Wayback Machine.
- Kent School District Strike Archived 2009-08-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- "KSD Facts". KSD Community Connections. Retrieved June 29, 2011.