Madison Elementary recently collaborated with Thurston County Health to produce a Stop! Don’t Touch! Get an Adult! messaging campaign around hazards that are becoming commonplace in the neighborhood, such as broken glass, syringes, and discarded clothing (which often contains sharps). “Don’t put your hands in places you can’t see such as blankets, jackets, or garbage.”
The informational letter and flyer went home to parents and was also sent from the Olympia School District via email.
A vacuum truck cleaned out the areas underneath the hedgerow and trees, where a combination of fall leaves mixed with discarded alcohol containers and likely drug paraphernalia lurked. The campus had been vacated for several months for construction repairs, and students and staff celebrated what must have felt like a second ‘first day of school’ after the new year began.
The school has obtained secure sharps containers from Thurston County for proper disposal, and staff will receive some additional training. A second check of the grounds has been built into the daily routine to inspect for such hazards. Improved lighting is being discussed as a preventative measure.
Credit goes to Principal Domenico Spatolla Knoll for his leadership on a safety issue and difficult topic that no school administrator should have to deal with.
While it is disappointing that limited district resources and energy have to be spent on preventing contact with biohazards, it has become unfortunately necessary. Several syringes have been found on walking routes to the school in recent days. As our latest posts reveal, Olympia City Parks in and around the Eastside are showing a disturbing amount of the nasty debris, especially for winter. Increasing awareness will help keep kids safe not only on school grounds, but also where they walk and play in the surrounding neighborhood when class is not in session.
Hopefully we will see more successful collaborations like this in our community to raise awareness about the serious drug epidemic and related crime currently affecting Olympia.