Some South End residents concerned over presence of homeless sleeping on school property

Some South End residents concerned over presence of homeless sleeping on school property

BOSTON — Neighbors living near the McKinley School in the heart of Boston’s South End have been asked to be on the lookout for makeshift homeless camps on school grounds. Human feces, syringes, pipes and used condoms are just some of what’s recently been found in the school’s parking lot and garden.

Parents, staff and people living in the area call it, “a serious safety concern.”

Neighbors tell Boston 25 News that they’ve been noticing an increase in the number of homeless people hunkering down on school property after sundown.

Content Continues Below

In the school’s garden it didn’t take one of our crews long to find trash, condoms and other waste. It noticeably got worse as they walked through the school’s parking lot.

An environment where kids come to learn is supposed to be a safe place. That is why parents, staff and neighbors living near the McKinley School in Boston’s South End say they’re concerned about who else goes there at night to sleep.

“It’s a big concern for kids,” said Scott Feinstein. “I’m not worried that a homeless person is going to attack a child, I’m worried about the needles and the drugs.”

Neighbors say they’ve been noticing makeshift homeless camps forming at the first trace of nightfall in the school’s parking lot and garden behind the school.

While the folks who sleep there are usually gone before kids arrive, the litter doesn’t always leave with them.

“You don’t want fecal matter in a schoolyard,” said Jon Paul Prunier, a Boston resident. “They seem to be spreading out in our neighborhood a lot more, the school here, the park there, it’s startling.”

Empty liquor bottles, needle caps and empty food containers are just some of what our crew saw as they walked around school property. One man who spoke with Boston 25 News, however, says that doesn’t mean everyone who sleeps around there is to blame.

“Give me a break, I’m just lying down on a bench, I’m not doing anything to anybody,” said that 67-year-old homeless man, who only wanted to be referred to as Mike. “I just want to survive that’s it.”

He went on to add that he’s been homeless on the streets of Boston for years and prefers to sleep outside because of the experiences he says he’s had at some area homeless shelters.

“It’s all drug addicts, it’s horrible, everyone is trying to steal your stuff so they can sell it and get dope, it’s terrible,” he said. “The only thing the neighbors want to do around here is get rid of everybody.”

Some neighbors are convinced last August’s ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ in the nearby area referred to as ‘Methadone Mile’ played a role in the increase of homeless people being seen near the South End school.

School officials at the McKinley School are asking neighbors to be especially vigilant on night and weekends and to report any suspicious activity right away.

Boston Public Schools also gave the following statement to Boston 25 News regarding the situation at the McKinley 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. 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. 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.
Boston Public Schools