Los Angeles Private School Forced to Close Due to Homelessness and Drug Use

A private school in Los Angeles was forced to close due to rising safety concerns as a result of the homeless and drug-abusing population in the vicinity.

As Fox News reports, the circumstances of the closure are detailed in a lawsuit filed by Dana Hammond, the founder of the Academy of Media Arts. Hammond claims that the city’s failure to adequately protect the school from vagrants constituted a breach of contract with the building that hosted the school.

“There’s a breach of contract and extension that the city continues to house…. over 400 of some of the highest-needs individuals, homeless individuals, that [are] suffering from drug illness and drug addiction,” Hammond said in an interview. He added that he felt obligated to shut down the school after students were repeatedly exposed to drug use, human waste, and nudity as a result of the vagrants’ presence on campus.

“My mom suffered from drugs, illness, which is why I started this work in terms of preparing students for the future of work, and it’s just been intruders after intruders, indecent exposure,” Hammond continued. “I’m sitting in my office today at Third and Fig in our classrooms. Our students get the chance to see the… Intercontinental Hotel, but they also have to deal with individuals who are nude in the back, doing drugs in the back. It’s just on and on, smoking marijuana in front of our school.”

The school was located in the L.A. Grand Hotel, which has been used to temporarily house homeless people in recent years. Hammond made the decision to close the school in January, after discovering human waste and drug paraphernalia such as crack pipes within the school.

Hammond condemned Mayor Karen Bass (D-Calif.) for her failure to adequately address the homeless and drug crises. A spokeswoman for Bass’s office said that the mayor’s administration had been working with Hammond prior to the school’s closure, including such additional security measures as new fencing and cooperation with security personnel on campus.

Nevertheless, Hammond said that the fundamental problem of the vagrants being present at the school was never dealt with, and he feared a confrontation that would one day turn violent.

“If we ask them to move, it becomes quickly escalated in a fight with one of our security guards,” Hammond explained. “It just has been a disaster that we’ve lost enrollment, and then on January 10th, we had an intruder high on LSD enter our classrooms, enter our campus. Someone’s going to die, and I had to get our students out of here.”

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)