Rantz: Homeless encampment near Seattle school to stay, district says sex offenders lived there
The dangerous homeless encampment bordering Seattle’s Broadview-Thomson K-8 will not be cleared as promised. In fact, since Seattle Public Schools (SPS) announced it would clear the encampment before school starts on Sept. 1, it’s become larger. And it was occupied by sex offenders.
Parents were told of the district’s failure at a Thursday night meeting. Few seemed particularly shocked, but many were angry. And there is no apparent timeline to clear the encampment.
The district knew the encampment was not being swept but refused to acknowledge it publicly until the meeting. SPS spokesperson Tim Robinson ignored multiple requests for comment.
Seattle Public Schools earns ‘F’ in encampment clean-up they never supported
SPS chose not to sweep the encampment, which is on property owned by the district and houses 55 individuals. School board members and the superintendent’s office are holding out for subsidized housing and City of Seattle funds. Until they get it, the district is holding the kids and staff hostage by keeping the encampment in place. It’s gotten larger and more dangerous in the last month.
Deputy superintendent Rob Gannon, school board member Liza Rankin (not wearing a mask), and volunteer Mike Mathias were at the meeting to take questions.
Showing their supposed commitment to compassionately addressing the encampment, district representatives enlisted nonprofit Anything Helps. It was a plan destined for failure as the nonprofit consists of just one person: Mike Mathias.
Mathias, at one point, claimed the homeless people living at the encampment are not security threats. Also, SPS announced that it erected a newly fortified fence between the school and the homeless. The gate that connects the school’s playground to the encampment has been locked. Perhaps it’s to protect the homeless from dangerous children?
A tarp covers the fence. I imagine it’s so that the homeless don’t see the children taunt them. Or, perhaps, so kids won’t see the drug use, violence, and sex workers who visit the encampment.
And there’s also security that SPS is paying for. But otherwise, the encampment poses no threat.
A homeless community … with sex offenders
Parents were told that the homeless people occupying the space see themselves as a community, making outreach more difficult.
They’re also an inclusive community. They invite registered sex offenders to live amongst them, judgment-free, although parents were told those degenerate neighbors have since moved out.
During the meeting, Mathias claimed it was a relatively clean encampment where the homeless pick up after themselves. This is, of course, demonstrably false. There is trash strewn all around the encampment, and the smell of urine occupies half of the park.
These kids are at risk
Parents are rightly concerned for the safety of their kids. They are, in fact, at risk. There’s also little to be done. There are no remote learning options available for students as of this week, which means parents will have to send their kids to a school where few feel safe.
Yet again, SPS is picking the homeless over the security of kids.
Seattle activists will always choose the homeless over everyone else. But they’re not really choosing the homeless. They only give the appearance of it.
To Seattle activists — be it on the school board or the council — the homeless are merely human props to be used to signal one’s compassion. Activists brag that they show compassion by not sweeping the encampments, as if sleeping outdoors surrounded by human waste and used needles is somehow compassionate.
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