PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Philadelphia police and school security officers are stepping up patrols around a Fishtown school playground after human feces was found.
Members of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles helped build the state-of-the-art playground at Hackett Elementary School this summer. But Monday morning, human feces was found among the trash left behind by a couple of men seen hanging around the playground in a stupor.
Jana Curtis, who has three young children who use the playground regularly, was shocked by the discovery.
"The community really came together along with the support from the Eagles and others to build an awesome schoolyard for kids of all abilities and then to see it used in such a fashion is just disappointing. It's heartbreaking!"
School officials sent a letter home to parents Tuesday, describing rather diplomatically, "that two men were trespassing on the property and made a terrible mess."
Neighbors, along with a city clean-up crew, cleared away the mess.
"When it comes to our public spaces—especially for our children—we need to take action and make sure that they are safe. We need to take action and make sure those spaces are clean and that is what we did in this case," Philadelphia School District spokesperson Lee Whack said.
People around here consider Hackett a great school in a great neighborhood. However, they also realize the epicenter of the city's exploding heroin crisis is not far away.
The school leaves the gates to the playground open after hours, so kids in the neighborhood can use the equipment. There are no plans to lock up the playground after hours. Even if the facility were locked, the low fencing around it could be easily jumped by trespassing adults.
"So it's nice that they allow the public to use it,” Sean Irwin, the father of a 4-year-old girl and playground neighbor, said. “Unfortunately, in that situation, something like this can happen, too. So you win and you lose."