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LAUSD Superintendent Praises New City Ban On Homeless Encampments Near Schools

Two men stand in a hallway in an elementary school. A man on the left wears a white shirt and red tie and gestures in the direction of the second man on the right, who is wearing a charcoal-gray suit and back tie and is standing with his hands clasped.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (left) speaks with L.A. Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho during a tour of Murchison Street Elementary in Boyle Heights on Aug. 19, 2022.
(Kyle Stokes
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The leader of the Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday praised the city’s move to block unhoused people from camping near schools or daycare centers.

Last week, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti signed legislation making areas within 500 feet of those sites off-limits to homeless encampments. LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho had urged the council to take action, saying he has witnessed “individuals shouting at kids, almost undressed,” and attempting to hop school fences.

“That’s not acceptable, so I stand with the mayor,” said Carvalho, who has been public about his own experience living unhoused during his teen years. “This is not obviously a comprehensive solution for the issue of homelessness, but we have to start somewhere.”

Advocates for the unhoused have decried the newly-expanded ordinance as setting the stage for new encampment sweeps. They point out the ordinance effectively makes huge swaths of L.A. off-limits to people without housing.

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Officials for both the city and school district have told LAist that enforcement is left up to the City of Los Angeles, and may vary by district. (Though intertwined, the city and Los Angeles Unified are different systems.)

Garcetti promised the city would not take a heavy-handed approach to enforcing the ordinance, known as 41.18, saying the city has erected thousands of new units of housing as well as new shelters and tiny home villages to accommodate unhoused individuals.

“It isn’t a club to bring in and say, ‘Clear people out, without services, without housing, without humanity,’” Garcetti said.

“But at the same time,” he added, “we know that it’s been very difficult for families, for students, to sometimes have encampments literally right outside of schools.”

What questions do you have about K-12 education in Southern California?
Kyle Stokes reports on the public education system — and the societal forces, parental choices and political decisions that determine which students get access to a “good” school (and how we define a “good school”).