Parents who have encountered drug users unconscious, dealing, defecating and urinating next to a Melbourne school are holding crisis talks about the “escalating situation”.
Richmond West Primary School has been placed into lockdown twice in the past week.
In one incident a man was found dead near the Lennox Street school, which is next to a medically supervised safe injecting room, forcing staff to direct students and parents away from the main entrance on Thursday.
Another man was caught inside the school grounds allegedly wielding a knife at 2.50pm on Wednesday. He was charged with trespass, possessing a controlled weapon and breach of bail.
Fed-up parents and residents will host a “community in crisis” meeting on Wednesday, with invites sent out to Health Minister Martin Foley and Education Minister and Acting Premier James Merlino.
Parent Neil Mallet, whose two sons go to Richmond West Primary, said children were confronted with “some of the most obscene scenes” almost every day.
“My worst fears are now being realised,” he told NCA NewsWire
“We‘ve had a guy with a knife in the primary school campus, another afternoon there was a woman with a needle in her neck in the front garden at pick-up time – we’ve seen drug users urinating at the gate outside the school.
“The risk to children and escalating risk and the fact the school had to be put into lockdown twice last week surely must be enough for authorities to acknowledge that this is wrong, so very wrong and something must be done.”
The injecting room’s two-year trial came to an end in July last year, but the Andrews government extended the trial site for another three years and was preparing to trial a second facility in North Melbourne.
Mr Mallet said there had been a “notable increase” in crime and anti-social behaviour outside the school in the time his sons had progressed through to grades 5 and 6.
“My fear is shared among many of the parents – it’s a honey pot effect of not only people coming to use the service but how it’s drawing dealers and others into the area,” he said.
“We can’t even let our kids walk to school in fear of what they‘ll encounter
“The parent body has been opposed to the location of the injecting room from day one – it’s created so much havoc and distress that the voices of these families are not being heard at all above the political posturing.”
Dora Tsipouras called the urgent community meeting for March 24. She said her 77-year-old mother who lived opposite the injecting room would constantly be verbally abused and intimated en route to her doctor’s clinic.
“Since the injecting room opened the problems have exacerbated to the point where my elderly mother was constantly having to contact police,” she said.
“There were drug deals on her doorstop, she was being verbally abused and intimated on her way to being treated by her GP.
“We want to be able to say something needs to be done – we deserve answers for the increased crime and anti-social behaviour we’re now forced to put up with.”
Mr Foley and Mr Merlino and the Department of Education have been contacted for comment.