Parents and neighbors are sounding off over human feces, syringes, liquor bottles and other trash greeting students at McKinley School in Boston’s South End neighborhood.
It’s “a serious safety concern” caused by homeless vagrants who use the school property as a campground at night, Boston 25 reports.
Neighbors told the news site homeless residents descend on the school at nightfall to sleep in the garden and school parking lot, and it’s getting out of hand. Video shows the grounds covered in trash, used condoms, drug paraphernalia and other disgusting things.
“You don’t want fecal matter in a schoolyard,” said local John Paul Prunier. “They seem to spreading out in our neighborhood a lot more, like the school here, the park over there. It’s startling.”
“It’s a big concern for kids,” neighbor Scott Feinstein said. “I’m not worried that a homeless person is going to attack a child or something. I’m worried about the needles and the drugs.”
Neighbors told the news site they noticed an increase in homeless activity following “Operation Clean Sweep” last August aimed at addressing crime in an area known as “Methadone Mile,” near Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard.
On Aug. 1 and 2, police arrested 34 people for crimes including assault, drug possession, outstanding warrants and others. The “directed patrol” was in response to a 41 percent increase in violent crime in the area over the last year that culminated with five individuals attacking a corrections officer in the area on Aug. 1, Boston.com reports.
“Operation Clean Sweep” also involved city workers clearing the street of abandoned property, garbage, and human waste left behind by the vagrants, which sparked outrage from social justice warriors.
Critics of the crackdown posted images to social media of city workers crushing wheelchairs in the back of garbage trucks and alleged police forced disabled homeless from the chairs to trash them. Officials countered that the chairs were abandoned and covered in human fluids, unsuitable for use.
Tax dollars at work. Crushing wheelchairs pic.twitter.com/NxReH8sm88
— Dinah Applewhite (@Dinahlew) August 7, 2019
Regardless, the issue drew massive crowds to public meetings, where both fed-up residents and homeless advocates raged at city officials.
One girl at the meetings, 11-year-old Jay’dah Rackard, told officials she was transferring schools because of issues and was frustrated that it took a terrible assault on a corrections officer to prompt police attention.
“This is not fair, please tell me where is my safety?” she said. “We have seen people shooting up on the streets and we have seen people having inappropriate actions and nothing has been done. And now that a corrections officer has been assaulted, now you are doing something? That is not fair at all.”
Marty Martinez, chief of Boston Health & Human Services, defended the city’s efforts to help the homeless and drug-addicted, but said there’s “no simple answer to this question,” Boston.com reports.
“We are picking up 8,000 needles every month… there is no simple answer to this question.” Chief of Boston Health & Human Services Marty Martinez taking question after question w/ visibly passionate crowd watching on #Boston25 pic.twitter.com/Z1kGkFI5aY
— Drew Karedes (@DrewKaredes) August 7, 2019
“We’re picking up 8,000 needles every month in the City of Boston,” he said.
Democrat Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, and other social justice crusaders condemned the cleanup without offering better solutions.
“We cannot dehumanize our fellow residents,” Pressley wrote. “We cannot further stigmatize addiction or respond with criminalization instead of access to treatment. We need coordinated solutions that center the humanity of all our residents, not this #operationcleansweep.”
At McKinley School, officials offered little reassurance things will improve any time soon.
School officials asked neighbors to help look after the school at night and on the weekends and to report suspicious activity to police, while Boston Public Schools issued a lame prepared statement about cleaning up the mess at the school.
“The safety and well-being of our students and staff at Boston Public schools is our number one priority. BPS is part of a citywide coordinated effort to address this issue and participates in a daily call hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services,” the statement read.
“Upon learning about the issue at the McKinley, BPS custodial staff took immediate action to ensure the property was clean, safe and secure. In addition, the Boston Public Health Commission’s Mobile Sharps Team is accessible every day to urgently respond to these issues,” officials wrote.
“BPS is in constant contact with the Boston Police Department, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services, and the Department of Neighborhood Development who oversees homeless services, to address this issue and provide support to our students and families.”