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Clean up at Washington Elementary School highlights parents' ongoing concerns

Posted at 6:18 PM, Feb 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 19:43:25-05

PHOENIX — An event meant to bring the community together and beautify Washington Elementary School in Phoenix reveals parents' ongoing concern.

Volunteers found syringes and other drug paraphernalia on campus during the school's Super Saturday Clean Up. Parents of students in attendance were not surprised.

"I've found needles walking my kids to school. They say they sweep the campus before kids start school but I've found them myself," said parent Sara Fierro.

Fierro is concerned for her two children and their safety. She says the school is littered with drug paraphernalia on a daily basis but Washington Elementary's administration disagrees.

"Our facilities people take really good care of our grounds. They look for things every single day to make sure our grounds are kept up and safe for our kids," said Principal Jennifer Griggs.

The Super Saturday Clean Up event was created to target leaves and trash. But parent Josie Slowinski said they found "two syringes, burnt foil, caps, a baggie with residue in it" on the field where her children play.

"I as a parent wouldn't want a child getting poked," Slowinski said. "That's not just going to be six months of testing but a lifetime of testing."

Both Slowinski and Fierro want the school to address the items found on campus. Fierro said she's alerted the school to needles found.

The needles are then disposed without further communication but she thinks parents shouldn't be "in the dark," Fierro said. "Notify the parents that it is a problem and raise awareness about it."

There is a methadone clinic located just blocks away from the school. However, they clarified any misconceptions regarding their contribution to drug-related activity in the area.

"We do not provide any needles. The medications our clients receive are oral medications. The only shot medication is Vivitrol and that's administered on site", says Michelle Ploof-Metcalf, Community Medical Services' Community Impact Manager.

And, the clinic has collaborated on community efforts with the Washington Elementary and volunteered at the clean-up event this past Saturday.