Seattle School District Hosts Homeless Encampment on School Property, Calls It a Teachable Moment for Tolerance

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Seattle’s no stranger to the issue of homelessness. But recently, the city got schooled.

As Seattle Public Schools students face a return to in-person instruction, a couple of campuses are dealing with an unusual addition to the educational experience.


At Edmond S. Meany Middle School and Broadview Thomson K-8, homeless camps have settled in.

Some parents are less than impressed.

In fact, select moms and dads got together before last week’s return to Broadview Thomson to distribute flyers about the contentious squatting.

The message: It’s dangerous.

They’ve called on the district to do something.

But Bill Steele, a resident nearby, told ABC4 the Powers That Be aren’t concerned about as many as 40 tents sitting beside the playground — albeit on the other side of a fence.

“Obviously, nobody is taking the problem seriously. All parents need to speak up and let the school board know that our schools are not camp grounds.”

Ryle Goodrich, whose 6-year-old was set to re-enter the classroom scene, concurred:

“You question the judgment of those in charge of keeping your children safe. I am calling on the school board to allow Mayor Jenny Durkan to take care of these encampments as she has in the past, which would be to offer services and then guide campers out of the park and let children return to school.”

The Washington Examiner painted a picture:

Parents…are worried about safety and say their children, some as young as 5, are too scared to go in. Others are playing near the edge of the encampment, stepping on condom wrappers, broken bottles, and trash.


Speaking to CBS7, mom Serena Evans railed against a recipe:

“I just think it’s a recipe for disaster. … I knew it had gotten bad, but I didn’t realize how out of control it was. … To have my daughter running around and know that — not passing judgment, but usually with homeless encampments, there’s drugs. Which [means] needles.”

Serena claimed she’s seen fights and even drug deals.

At Edmond S. Meany — where students will be welcomed back April 19th — camps are actually sitting on school property.

Parents have sent a letter to the board and the city.

But Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan blamed the CDC:

“CDC regulations said we had to leave people in place. And it’s having significant impact on communities.”

She also asserted it’s the school district that has “the responsibility for working on it.”

Should they? As it turns out, the situation’s a purported plus in the area of education.

According to a Facebook statement by multiple school board members — including the president — the district sees tolerating tents as the positive product of a teachable moment:

Our students deserve to see the adults in their lives behave compassionately… We demand sweeps NEVER be used on school grounds, adjacent or elsewhere.


Meanwhile, the mayor explained that Seattle’s working on — in the words of KIRO — “outreach.”

Perhaps concerned citizens will pool their pennies and at least try to keep the area clean.

After all, it’s working in California:

That would be taking a teachable moment, indeed.



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