Kids walk through ‘stink’

2015-06-23 06:00
The sidewalk next to Ellerton Primary School is frequently used as an ablution facility for street people.

PHOTO: 
nicole mccain

The sidewalk next to Ellerton Primary School is frequently used as an ablution facility for street people. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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Street people are creating a stink for Three Anchor Bay school pupils.

The sidewalk along Ellerton Primary School is often a resting place for a group of street people, says Community Police Forum chairperson Heather Tager, as they bed down along the property wall in Glengariff Road.

But far from a peaceful night’s sleep, the forum has received reports that pupils are being “intimidated” by those sleeping there.

“Everyone walking past there is affected, including joggers in the morning, people wanting to use the pavement and schoolchildren,” Tager says.

“They are using the area as an ablution block. Litter is strewn all over that area, which is a health hazard. Drugs have also been found. If they are not woken up early in the morning they have often been found still sleeping at midday.”

Ellerton Primary principal Caroline Cannon says the school reeks of the smell of urine most mornings and on occasions there have been defecation inside the school property.

“It’s a health and safety concern,” she says.

“The street people often loiter and beg and it can be scary for staff who have to leave late at night.”

Many of the pupils arrive at school very early and the children are also often scared when approached by the street people, Cannon says.

In addition, holes have been made in the school’s wall for storing items, which the school has been left to repair, and washed clothing is often hung over the school wall.

The litter left along the property often prompts neighbours to complain to the school.

“The neighbours complain to us and it doesn’t help to explain that we have nothing to do with it,” Cannon says.

She and other staff have been left to hose down the area themselves after complaints.

People’s Post visited the site, but was not able to reach any of the street people for comment.

Cannon believes local businesses are paying the street people to work as informal car guards and is worried that their numbers may swell, enticing criminals to hide among the street people.

On numerous occasions the forum’s fieldworker and law enforcement officers have visited the street people, offering them help, Tager says. However, this appears to have had little impact.

“There is help at hand to get the homeless off the street by either placing them into a shelter, attempting to reunite them with their families as well as other available programmes, but most of them do not want any assistance.

“It is often due to businesses and residents who make it lucrative for people to remain in certain areas,” she says

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