“I always worry whenever my daughter passes by the homeless encampments in front of her school.”
A Southern California school, Larchmont Charter, located on Selma Avenue, is raising concerns from parents and school officials about the homeless situation. This issue is posing a health and safety threat towards the school.
This Elementary school works hard to provide high-quality education for its students. Though, they face a major challenge of securing a safe environment for young children outside school grounds. While there is tight security within the property, beyond this high-fenced, gated community, is a growing homeless population. These people settle and camp out, nearby with signs and mountains of personal possessions.
From a parent’s perspective it is a difficult controversy, but many feel it is unsafe. A parent of a student who attends Larchmont Charter stated, “Whenever I drive by to drop my daughter off to school, I would always see a group of homeless people. Every morning there are several police cars making several rounds. I see several encounters with the police ordering the folks on the street to clear the premise, but they always manage to come back.”
Other family members have also voiced their concerns. An older sibling of one of the student’s states, “I know that not everyone is shady, but as an older sister, I can’t help but feel uneasy about my 10 year old sister whenever she walks in this community.” However, this older sibling voiced the controversy as well. She said “I do not wish to see these people living on the streets being kicked out…they are struggling to find a stable shelter as well…but I also just wish to see them in a better environment…so that both the children and the homeless are provided with a safer place.”
The homeless problem around Larchmont Charter is not necessarily about instances of aggressive or violent acts. It is more a concern revolving around strange and worrisome behaviors that can be highly disturbing for children to see. As parents, the concern in the safety of their children and just as a mother stated, “my concern and safety of the children outweigh my sympathy because my duty as a mother is to protect my kids.”
Some concerns are lessened with the strict protocols that are adhered to at Larchmont Charter, but the homeless population nearby the school still puts many on high alert. And, Larchmont Charter is fully aware of the homeless situation and is working towards seeking help from the city council to aid them in solving the problem as soon as possible.
Being responsible for hundreds of young children, the school administration and families are putting in immense efforts to advances towards a safer space for the students to thrive and succeed in. We need to speak up for our children and let the city council know that it is important to look after our children and protect them. They are the next generation – the new generation that can make significant changes to our society and the world.
Joanne Chae, Grade 10