Seattle officials say they can’t keep school children safe from homeless violence, so families should receive $20,000 per-child scholarships to access learning alternatives » Publications » Washington Policy Center
Over Memorial Day weekend, a young man was senselessly killed in a homeless camp in northeast Seattle in Olga Park. At the same time, another homeless camp in northwest Seattle continues to threaten the safety of school children. Publicola reported that Mayor Jenny Durkan is refusing to remove a dangerous homeless camp at Broadview Thomson K-8 Public School. The tax-financed school will look after 633 young students between the ages of five and 14.
Parents at school say they feel frustrated, angry, and helpless. To keep their children safe, parents have asked Seattle Public Schools to remove the Broadview Thomson K-8 homeless camp. Then, two months ago, in April, investigative reporter Jason Rantz revealed that Seattle School Board President Chandra Thompson and Principal Zachary De Wolf had blocked the cleansing of illegal camps on the school grounds. Now the mayor says the city will not provide a safe learning environment even if school officials ask for it.
Mayor Durkan says that “the tents are on the school grounds,” so it will not provide security.
Of course their position is ridiculous. The city of Seattle is responsible for public safety. School officials should be educators, not police officers and addiction counselors.
Families are simply trying to get the promised public education while keeping the children safe. Since the city and school district don’t do this, the best solution is to provide families at Broadview Thomson K-8 with grants of $ 20,000 per child to help fund their education. This is the per child funding that taxpayers provide to Seattle Public Schools. In most private schools, this is more than just teaching, so providing scholarships would allow children to access real education in a safe and predictable environment. At the same time, children would be safe from drug use, human trafficking, and homeless camp-related violence.
Mayor Durkan is sending her own children to safe private schools. Many public school workers also send their own children to safe, high quality private schools. Ordinary families in Seattle should have the same options, especially if city guides cannot guarantee the children’s safety during the school day. The well-being of the children should be the top priority of city guides, especially when the government fails to protect the public and children from harm.