Jesse Hagopian, a teacher in the Seattle Public School System and Founding Member of Seattle Equality Educators (SEE), was arrested on Monday for standing up for his students.

Jesse Hagopian standing at the rail with other Seattle Public School teachers.

After the banner was unfurled, Jesse Hagopian called out “mic check!” and the teachers responded. Then the chant began:

It is immoral
It is illegal
These cuts will hurt families
These cuts will hurt kids
These cuts will hurt educators
King county Superior Court judge
Ruled that these cuts are constitutionally illegal
The Constitution of Washington state reads it is the paramount duty to fully
Fund education
We therefore issue a citizen’s arrest of this Washington State Legislature
We call for taxing the rich
We call to fund the schools

Police officers rushed in and Jesse was heard saying “I’m not resisting but I’m also not leaving. Our legislature is the one breaking the law!”

Meanwhile teachers outside in the hallway were offering handcuffs to police officers to use to arrest the legislators who were willing to break the law by cutting the education budget in our state.

Jesse was arrested later that afternoon after leading the following mic check during the legislative meeting:

Jesse Hagopian was released this morning. Below is what he said in an e-mail to friends and members of SEE:

I was arrested today at the capital for protesting against the budget cuts. Still no bankers in jail, but they have arrested teachers trying to get money for the schools. And as we pointed out, it is the Washington State Legislature that is breaking the law by failing their constitutional duty to fully fund education. Anyway, I’m out now and back to school tomorrow! They can’t jail an idea whose time has come!

Thanks to everyone who helped protest for justice today!

Seattle Public School teacher Rick Harlan holds up one of the many banners used to offer advice to the legislators. See his comment below.

According to one teacher who participated in the peaceful disobedience action, later that day several people were dragged away as teachers sat in the rotunda and sang “Which side are you on?” to the police and the legislative observers.

The teacher went on to say that “The sweet a cappella was beautiful and brought many to tears”.

There were legal witnesses present to observe the peaceful actions.

Police officers "protecting" the Rotunda.

At 6:30 PM more officers arrived to “protect” the Rotunda.

The teachers who were not dragged away stayed until about 8:30 PM yesterday evening.

God bless those teachers, each and every one of them.


See the post below for what happened the following day:

Seattle Public School Teacher Jesse Hagopian on Keith Olbermann