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Neighbors file lawsuit against Seattle school district over encampment

Dec 16, 2021, 5:03 AM
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Part of a homeless encampment that was attached to Broadview-Thomson K-8. (Photo: Jason Rantz/KTTH)
(Photo: Jason Rantz/KTTH)

Neighbors and parents of students at Broadview-Thomson K-8 in Bitter Lake have filed a lawsuit against Seattle Public Schools over the homeless encampment that was on school property for 18 months.

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The lawsuit was filed by a 50-member group called “Save BTK8.” The encampment is no longer on school property after it was removed last week.

“Even though it has been removed now, we are pursuing this because we want the school district to really come forward and take the action to make sure this never happens again,” Bill Steele, one of the participants in the lawsuit, told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

“This was not the first time an encampment had been on their property,” he added.

Steele said the decision to file the lawsuit was made a long time ago, and they had to give the school district a 60-day notice of their intention to file.

“Of course, back on October 1, there seemed to be no rush for the school district to remove the encampment,” he said.

Teacher at Seattle school near encampment is fighting for ‘safety of our students’

Steele says the large homeless encampment “put a strain on our neighborhood.”

“There was a tremendous amount of illegal activities, drug use, trespassing, drug dealing, theft that occurred in our neighborhood ever since summer of 2020 when that encampment first appeared. It just kept getting worse and worse,” he said.

As far as communication with the neighborhood from the school district, he says there was none.

“We initially had a meeting in March of ’21, shortly before school was supposed to open up,” he said. “We requested people from the school, people from the city, parks department, to come meet with us, tell us what their plans were. Nobody came.”

Steele says the group filing the lawsuit is asking for the school district “to develop a plan to address how they’re going to prevent any encampments from ever returning to that piece of property.”

Listen to the full interview below: 

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.

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Neighbors file lawsuit against Seattle school district over encampment