Share this story...
Latest News

Rantz: Sword, meth, and trash remain as School Board refuses to sweep encampment

A growing encampment that threatens student and staff safety at Seattle’s Broadview-Thompson K-8 remains in place. Parents are outraged and concerned.

It’s so dangerous the school is fencing off the back end of the campus. They’re even restricting students and staff to use one entrance and exit at the front of the school. It’s more inconvenient, forcing kids to forgo access to the nearby park that they used to enjoy. But it’s safer than letting young children walk through the attached homeless encampment on district property.

The Seattle School Board’s progressive activists refuse to sweep the encampment because they claim it lacks compassion. Thanks to board president Chandra Hampson and her fellow board members, kids are in imminent danger.

Rantz: Online tantrum by Seattle School Board’s Chandra Hampson possibly illegal

Encampment poses clear danger

Take a walk through the park just behind the school and you’ll spot a sword, meth use, and lots of trash.

I visited on Sunday afternoon. Tents line up the green space, offering the homeless prime real estate along Bitter Lake. One homeless woman lounged in a hammock without a care in the world, despite her dire predicament.

But nearby, the school was ready to reopen. Governor Jay Inslee ordered all schools open for part-time, in-person learning by April 19. Despite resistance from the local union, Seattle teachers finally complied.

Yet instead of enjoying their first day back, students had to worry about the nearby, growing encampment. And their parents were equally concerned, some saying they would not send their kids back to school until the situation is handled.

Parents and students worry

Ryle Goodrich photographed a sword on full display next to a tent on the property. When he discussed it with his wife, his son overheard the conversation and had a “freak-out” about his safety.

“He is already nervous because he watches what goes on at the encampment during recess and says there is some sort of skull above a tent as a warning sign, which he finds scary,” Goodrich tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “So I had to comfort him and tell him everything is OK, that there is a fence and lots of adults to protect him. However, I’m really not sure it is OK, I’m just hoping it is OK. It’s not a good feeling.”

Goodrich, like so many other parents, do not think any help is on the way.

“I know Superintendent Denise Juneau checked out long ago and does not care,” he told me. “I know the police are stretched thin, because I had to wait for them 2.5 hours last night to address the sword. Also, the principal is not responding to my emails or addressing this issue with families, it seems like it is out of his control.”

School Board won’t engage

Across the city, an encampment took over the park connected to Meany Middle School.

But over the weekend, it was cleared, with every homeless person offered shelter, including access to Tiny Home Villages and hotel rooms. Some said no. That’s their problem. If they’re going to say no to generous offers of assistance, we must say the rights of children are more important. That might upset activists who do nothing to help the homeless — or children. So be it. As of Monday morning, the camp was gone and the students and staff were as safe as you can be on Capitol Hill.

At Broadview-Thompson, the entirety of the problem lives on district property. Thanks to school board president Chandra Hampson’s ideology, she and the board believe sweeps are “inhumane.” More humane? Living outdoors in a park without access to running water, toilets and showers, electricity, or resources to get your life back on the right path.

When Hampson was criticized on a school board director Facebook page, she deleted critical comments before pulling down the entire page. Former Attorney General Rob McKenna noted her move may have been illegal. This is the move of a weak partisan. She can’t defend her position, of course. So she runs from it.

Unless they’re offered fully subsidized apartments, activists don’t want sweeps. They’ll even hold kids hostage if it means getting what they want. How shameful.

Activists like Hampson do little more than get in the way of connecting the homeless with resources (which usually occur for weeks before sweeps) and sending out press releases. But they’ll proudly declare themselves social justice heroes for stopping something inhumane! Meanwhile, they force homeless people to “humanely” sleep in a park surrounded by human waste and trash.

Most Popular