St Christopher’s special needs school in the city is faced with an infestation of rats due to the unsightly illegal dumping of rubbish, and staff, parents and children feel threatened by vagrants in the area.A cul de sac behind St Christopher’s School on Pine Street is strewn with household and garden rubbish and broken bottles, and vagrants sleep under a small walkway bridge behind the cul de sac, which is also used as an illegal dump by the public.The pathway is used as a shortcut to the Mayor’s Walk area by pedestrians who are seen to litter there.St Christopher’s caters for children who are physically disabled and those with learning difficulties. Its principal, Peter Louw, said staff come to school to find large rats, as well as vagrants passed out outside the school every morning. “Parents complain that they are unable to turn their cars [in the cul de sac] because there is always broken glass there which can damage tyres. “Because our pupils are physically challenged, parents are parked outside assisting the children for a while so they can be targeted. “These children are vulnerable and are at risk.”Louw said the school had to erect a cloth screen near its playground after vagrants were seen flashing children. “The vagrants go into town and beg during the day, then they return at night. In the morning we come to school to find them all over,” he said.“We don’t know what to do. We’ve been battling with these problems for years. What will happen if our parents and pupils get attacked. The buck stops with me but without assistance [from authorities] there’s nothing I can do.“I will never forgive myself if something happens,” Louw said. Meanwhile, garbage is also piling up uncollected for weeks on Prince Alfred Street outside Marion High School. Complaints of uncollected garbage have risen recently because of a recent strike by Msunduzi’s waste staff. The City got a court order to send workers back to their jobs. The problem of uncollected garbage has, however, been a perennial issue, with The Witness running several “city of filth” reports.Msunduzi did not respond to a query on Tuesday.