• Parents worried about drug, alcohol recovery school next to elementary school

    By: Nick McGurk


    SEATTLE - Seattle Public Schools is planning to put recovering teenage drug and alcohol addicts in a school across from Queen Anne’s John Hay Elementary School.

    As of Friday night, more than 200 people had signed a change.org petition protesting the Interagency Academy School. In the petition, it reads “innocent elementary school children” will be at risk. 

    "My biggest concern is bringing in a population of kids that have been involved in criminal activity,” said John Hay Elementary parent Nancy Lea, who signed the petition. 

    She is hoping Seattle Public Schools will not open a school for teenagers recovering from drugs and alcohol across from where her kids learn. 

    "We know they're not very stable, these kids, that's what we understand, and we don't want to have our school children be, at the same time, while they are out,” said Carmen Hagios, who helped author the petition. 

    Hagios says parents didn’t hear from the school district that the Interagency Recovery School was being planned in the building that used to house Queen Anne High School’s gymnasium. 

    Hagios says nobody heard a thing from Seattle Public Schools, and they’ve struggled since then to get answers. 

    "There's a certain, um, rich white NIMBY-ism, involved, sorry to call it that. People are fearful, of people who are different,” said Brad Hawkins, a John Hay Elementary parent who thinks the school is a good idea. 

    "They need to be in a good neighborhood, and I think that this is an excellent idea,” said Hawkins. 

    The school district denied KIRO 7’s request for an on-camera interview, but sent us an email saying there will be a community meeting for concerned parents on Wednesday, December 10 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the John Hay Elementary School cafeteria. 

    The district’s emailed statement is below:

    Interagency Recovery School

    Interagency Recovery School is a small campus designed to support high school youth who are committed to recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Students have self-selected to attend Interagency Recovery School and have expressed commitment to actively work toward their academic and personal goals while attending school in a clean and sober environment.  

    Recovery School students come from all over Seattle, representing all races, religions and socioeconomic statuses. These are everybody’s kids who have made hard, mature choices to change their lives. More than anything, they need the support of their community as they walk this difficult road to recovery. 

    The school site, located in the old gym of the Queen Anne High School building, will offer the support of specially trained teachers, a chemical dependency professional, other support staff, and peers who are also committed to recovery.  

    The school will open in early 2015, with an estimated 10 students and will grow based on need and available resources. As its students are clean and sober, the school upholds a strict no tolerance policy with drugs and alcohol. Students found to be under the influence or in possession of drugs or alcohol will be transferred out of the school to another support service. 

    Interagency has partnered with King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division to offer this needed program. NAVOS is also providing a full-time staff member at the school to support students, funded by King County Mental Health.

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