Kamloops school district plans to manage homeless squatters, used needles on school properties | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops school district plans to manage homeless squatters, used needles on school properties

Part of a temporary camp outside Arthur Hatton Elementary School, days before students returned to class, Sept. 2.

As students return to school this week, some Kamloops parents may be concerned about potential risks surrounding the presence of homeless people and their activities on some school properties.

Street entrenched people have reportedly been camping out on the Arthur Hatton Elementary School property on Kamloops's North Shore since summer started and used needles have been found on the grounds, and on surrounding residential properties.

Amanda Leach is a long-time neighbour of the school.

"During the school year, I see teachers and even the secretary out in the mornings, doing the rounds, checking for needles and ensuring the park is safe for students. This shouldn’t be their job,” Leach said.

READ MORE: Kamloops neighbourhood strained by ongoing issues with drug users

School District 73 has a management plan in place to ensure safety of students and staff, according to Grant Reilly, assistant superintendent of Early Learning and Elementary Education.

"When we have unknown individuals on our school grounds, we follow a process to ensure student safety," Reilly wrote in a statement. "Student safety is the top priority for the School District.

"At the school level, custodial staff complete a daily walk around the grounds to ensure any safety concerns are addressed prior to students attending. As well, Arthur Hatton has an approved supervision plan that ensures students are appropriately supervised when they arrive to school and throughout the school day. Arthur Hatton Principal, Mike Johnson, provides regular updates to the school (Parent Advisory Council) to keep people apprised of how safety concerns are being addressed.

"At a District level, Arthur Hatton Principal, Mike Johnson, works closely with the District Maintenance Department to determine if enhanced security measures are needed. Further, the School District relies on our strong partnerships with Community Services via the City of Kamloops and the RCMP in responding to these community issues to improve the learning environment for students at Arthur Hatton."

Kamloops Community Services, the department that enforces the city's bylaws, did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

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