After shooting, Seattle parents regret school kicking out officers in 2020: 'Who is protecting our babies?'

After a recent shooting killed a 17-year-old student, Seattle’s Garfield High School may begin rethinking its decision to remove police officers back in 2020.

On June 6, a 17-year-old student was shot and killed in the school parking lot after trying to break up a fight between two boys. Police reported that the suspect fled on foot and still remains on the run.

Meanwhile, former Garfield police officer Bennie Radford, who now lives in Florida, can’t help but wonder if he would have made a difference.

“My stomach is wrenching right now,” Radford told The Seattle Times. “I never should have left. Those are my kids — that was my school.”

The shooting happened around 12:30 p.m. local time outside Garfield High School, according to the Seattle Police Department. (Seattle Police Department)


Radford worked at Garfield from 2008 to 2019, where he was known as “Officer Bennie” to the kids. The Seattle School Board later voted in 2020 to remove Radford’s position, with police arrangements being “indefinitely shelved” for Garfield and four other schools in Seattle.

The move was in response to the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and national calls to “defund” the police. The Seattle School Board declared in a resolution the district would be “abandoning notions of policing and pathology” and showing how it “supports defunding police.”

At the time, some parents objected.

“I feel the decision to remove the school resource officers is being made in a knee-jerk fashion,” one Garfield parent said during a 2020 school board meeting on the topic, according to The Seattle Times.

“If the politically correct thing to do is cancel them, then we need a plan before students go back to campus, to keep them safe,” another mother said.

The Seattle City Council originally voted in favor of reducing the police budget in 2020. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Four years ago, parents expressed concerns about the safety of their children over the removal of school officers. After last week’s shooting, they’ve become even more worried.

“At Garfield on Tuesday, as students filed past tearful, clapping lines of parents for the first day back since last Thursday’s deadly shooting, a sign on the steps asked the question that’s now top of mind: ‘Who Is Protecting Our Babies???’” The Seattle Times reported.

The reporter added, “A few told me they aren’t sending their kids back to the school until there’s more concrete information on safety plans. Others are waiting for some resolution to the current shooting.”

Multiple parents also reported their kids claiming they have been seeing guns in the school. Radford said that a police officer stationed at the door could discourage that.

“It was a great program, and they never should have gotten rid of it,” Radford said. “All defund the police did is hurt that city.”


The Seattle School Board’s decision came about the same time as the Seattle City Council voted in summer 2020 in favor of cutting 100 police officers and $3 million from the police budget.

The city later increased its police budget after crime skyrocketed in 2023.

The Seattle School Board has not yet reinstated officers to some of its schools. (Google Maps )

Despite all this, there doesn’t seem to be a similar rush from leadership to reinstate school officers.

“This is a season to heal,” Superintendent Brent Jones said at a gathering on Tuesday after the shooting, according to the Times. “Next will be a season to come up with strategies.”


Members of the Seattle Student Union also insisted that it would “denounce any call to reintroduce police to our schools after Black students and allies worked tirelessly in 2020 to successfully demand their removal.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Garfield High School and the Seattle School Board for comment.

Lindsay Kornick is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @lmkornick.

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