SAN DIEGO — The principal of Perkins K-8 said students see things they shouldn't see every day when they walk to school.
"They don’t just encounter feces on the sidewalk; they see people actually defecating into bags on the sidewalk. They see people putting needles into their arms; they'll see people inside the tents with scary animals, dogs, and pit bulls. They’ll see people brandishing weapons and threatening one another as they’re walking to school," said Principal Fernando Hernandez.
He announced this during a news conference with Mayor Todd Gloria Tuesday morning outside the school.
"These children are witnessing drug use, violence, sex acts, public defecation, and urination daily," said Mayor Gloria. "What’s happening at Perkins is not just at Perkins. Sadly, this is the experience for many of our children at schools across our city."
Mayor Gloria is urging the city council to pass the proposed Unsafe Camping Ordinance, which bans homeless encampments in public spaces if shelter beds are available. It also prohibits them within two blocks of schools and parks, even if no shelter beds are available.
Critics have argued the homeless will have nowhere to go. Mayor Gloria pointed to two safe sleeping sites that the council will consider.
Parent Scott Gallegos told reporters he walks his daughter, a first grader, to Perkins every day and tries to block her from seeing the encampments.
"I’m shielding her from it," he said. "I don’t want her to witness it; it’s not right. I want to protect her innocence as much as I can."
The council is scheduled to vote on the Unsafe Camping Ordinance on June 13.