Spirit Rock to Be Removed from Highline High School

A Highline High School student wrote the following article. The views expressed here do not reflect the views of Highline Public Schools or Highline High School. 

Spirit Rock to Be Removed from Highline High School
Gabriela Martinez and Brittany Sloan

Spirit Rock at Highline is painted black to cover hate speech: March 14, 2019

Updated: March 14, 2019 11:42am

Due to the previous cases of vandalism of the Highline High School’s spirit rock and after so many complaints from the students; the future of the rock has been decided. The Spirit Rock is scheduled to be removed by the end of next week.

The district submitted a correction stating that, "It is clear that the rock will be taken into storage for the time being. The fate of the rock will be decided at a later date after alumni input."

Before the district speaks on this issue, our admin will be announcing a statement today,  March 14. This decision was all possible because of our administration. They are responsible for contacting Susan Enfield and getting her approval for the demolition, according to Ms.Huening. According to the Mandi LeCompte, Communications Manager at Highline Public Schools, "It will not be demolished. It will be removed."

March 7, the day of the first defacing of the rock this year, students were invited to an after school meeting with Mr. Holloway and Mr. Sallee, which has played a role in the rock’s removal. Unfortunately, our Superintendent couldn’t attend this meeting, but Deborah Rumbaugh, who is Highline’s Instructional Leadership Executive Director, attended the meeting as a district representative. It is apparent that our principals not only listened to the students who attended the meeting, but took action on behalf of the student body.

As Mr. Sallee has said many times, “The rock won’t be coming with us to the new site nor the new school”.  This will mark the end of the vandalism of an object that is supposed to bring us together, but will this also put an end to the ignorant hate speech at Highline?

This morning, a statement was read schoolwide on March 14th during first period from our Superintendent, Dr. Susan Enfield. The statement can be read below:

Dear Highline High School Students,

Nearly two years ago when we first had issues with spirit rock I met with many of you to hear how it affected you and what you thought we needed to do better moving forward. One of the things you told me was that during difficult times you want to hear from me directly. So I have written this message for you and asked your teachers and school leaders to share it.

Last week spirit rock was once again painted with hateful, offensive messages. While we do not know who was responsible for this, we do know that whenever something like this happens it angers us all, and rightfully so. It also undermines the hard work that you and the staff at Highline are doing to create a culture of respect and inclusion. After speaking with your principals and our school board members, we together have made the decision to remove spirit rock next week because as leaders and members of this community, we believe we owe it to you to take action.

We recognize that spirit rock was a class gift to the school, and we will consult alumni for their ideas about its future. I also encourage you to contact me with your ideas. While the rock may hold good memories for some, it is not the positive symbol it once was.

We are proud of you, we support you and we want you, today’s students, to be the face of Highline High School. Together, let’s demonstrate to our community that in Highline we believe love and respect is more powerful than hate and ignorance.

Susan