Faculty and staff at Seattle’s Broadview Thomson K-8 school are demanding Seattle Public Schools act to address the homeless encampment on the school's campus which has plagued the area with crime and drugs.
In a letter sent to Seattle Public Schools interim superintendent Dr. Brent Jones, the Seattle School Board and Mayor Jenny Durkan, the teachers and staff detailed neighborhood safety concerns as well as the impact of the encampment on the school which inclded an enrollment decrease for the fall.
Superintendent Jones sent a letter to Mayor Durkan asking for her help in encouraging the Seattle School Board to remove the encampment from the property, which has so far refused to do so.
Parents at Seattle’s Broadview Thomson K-8 school fear for their children’s safety after the city and school board refused to intervene with the homeless encampment that currently resides on school property and has seen multiple overdoses of campers, rodents, brawls, weaponry and even people attempting to gain entry into the school building.
Bryce Nicolls, a student’s parent at Broadview Thomson, told Fox and Friends Tuesday that the school went into lockdown after an unknown man entered the school, describing the situation "completely out of control."
"They have broken into the school. The school has been on a shelter-in-place lockdown multiple times due to one of the people at the encampment having a gun, and there’s fights there constantly," Nicolls said.
Nicolls added that letters were sent to the parents of baseball players that practice at the school warning them to watch out for hypodermic needles before games. However, use of the field was suspended due to the homeless encampment crisis.
The Broadview Thompson parent also mentioned that the city has offered the school help in addressing the detrimental situation but the school board "pretty much just won’t do anything about it."
"They are choosing the people at the encampment over our children at this point and that is completely unacceptable," added Nicolls.
Bryce Nicolls told KOMO News that their family has decided to pull their son from Broadview because of the schools failure ensure safety of their students. "We are already enrolling him in Connections Academy for home school because of this," said Nicolls.
It’s not just the parents that are irate about the situation, teachers began to speak out about their concerns and called on Seattle Public Schools to take action, KOMO News reported.
"We have been worried about the safety of the staff and the students for quite some time now," said Natalee Powell, a second-grade teacher at Broadview Thomson K-8. "The other day there was a loud noise and my students jumped in class and asked if it was a gunshot and if it came from the playground. This is not how I want to end my second-grade year with my kids," she added.
Parents have spoken with Powell about safety concerns at the playground during recess, which is just feet away from the dangerous individuals that inhabit the encampment.
The district placed four-foot plastic tarps on the fence that separates the encampment from the school in an ridiculous attempt at a solution.
Teachers slammed the tarps and say it’s not enough to deter the crisis. KOMO News asked Powell if the school board addressed the situation with the teachers in which she replied, "The only thing I know of them saying is that this is a chance to teach empathy, and they are working with community outreach programs. However we still haven't seen a change and the camp is growing."
Powell also mentioned to KOMO that she hopes services can be provided to those in the encampment and hopes that shelter can be provided.
"I would hate to just simply move them out," said Powell. "But they’re so close to the students that right now there's got to be a huge change and there needs to be a place for them to go because right next to our playground is not where they should be," said Powell.
A group of fed-up parents started a GoFund Me to raise money so that they can effectively sue the school over failure to remove the encampment from school grounds and provide safety to their students. Seattle Public Schools have yet to respond to the email.