Rantz: Fights, drug use rampant as Seattle school encampment terrorizing area
The situation is deteriorating at the homeless encampment attached to Broadview-Thomson K-8 in Seattle. The encampment, with just a flimsy fence separating it from the school’s playground, has grown considerably. Now, more aggressive homeless people are wandering around the family-friendly streets of Bitter Lake. Some residents are scared.
Just in the last week, homeless people from the camp were seen openly brawling with one another or outsiders and shooting up in full view. And there have been more sightings of sex workers wandering in and out of the encampment.
Seattle Public Schools and the fringe school board, however, refuse to act. The encampment is slated to be addressed — maybe — in September.
Woman attacked at Seattle encampment
Ryle Goodrich is a parent of kids who attend Broadview-Thomson. He’s been sounding the alarms over the encampment for months. Last Friday, he saw a vicious brawl.
“I never go to my kid’s school anymore. Maybe once a month I stroll near the park. I stopped off today very briefly to see how a fence they are building at the encampment was progressing,” Goodrich tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “I am there for a minute and a fight breaks out because someone left trash on someone else’s tent. There was a lot of screaming and yelling. A mob of people chases a lady out of the encampment. They physically grab her arms and legs to carry her off of school property. They drop her.”
That’s when he was able to pull out his cell phone and start recording.
“For all I know this happens all day, every day at my kid’s school, on school property,” he explains. “Summer school of some sort is in session right now. The gate to the school was open since they were working on a new fence, there was nothing stopping the victim from running up onto the playground while a mob of people chased her there.”
As of Sunday, Aug. 1, the gate between the encampment and school playground was locked.
Sex workers arrive?
Neighbors are also growing more concerned that sex workers are making frequent visits to the encampment.
Videos recorded by another neighbor show what appears to be a sex worker first speaking on her cell phone before entering the encampment from the north entrance. She comes out of the passenger-side door of a jeep in revealing clothing and heads into the encampment.
It’s unclear if the unidentified woman lives in the encampment or is visiting.
School Board and district are disengaged
Neither the school board nor Seattle Public Schools has shown interest in sweeping the dangerous encampment, even as it puts young students and staff at risk.
School Board President Chandra Hampson and Director Zachary DeWolf worked behind the scenes to prevent the city of Seattle from sweeping encampments on or around school property. They argue it’s inhumane.
Seattle Public Schools affirmed that position, stating that “simply removing them from district property won’t result in a permanent solution,” given that campers often “move between city and district owned properties.”
Since then, the board and SPS added a talking point to claim they’re unable to face the financial burden of providing housing resources to those at the Broadview-Thomson encampment.
The district’s board member, Liza Rankin, emailed a parent insisting that they won’t act without housing for those camping on their property.
“Despite what you (or the Seattle Times Editorial Board) may think, the work to solve this issue has been constant and ongoing,” she claimed in a June 21 email, in reference to an editorial chiding the school board’s inaction.
Except they haven’t been moving on the encampment with any sense of urgency. It’s why the encampment has grown. SPS says they hope to have it cleared, with resources provided, by September to coincide with the reopening of schools for the 2021-22 semester. Until then, it might be wise to keep your kids away from the area.
Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Parler, and like me on Facebook.