RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — Parents are outraged after drug paraphernalia was found on the baseball field near Cordova High School.
“Once we started hearing what they were finding out here, it just became mortifying for me,” said Dawn Velverde, the mother of a Cordova High baseball player.
Parents want more than just a cleanup crew to fix the mess.
“It’s the drug pushers, the drug addicts — they are using right near the bathroom,” she said.
Homeless encampments set up just behind the dugout had used hypodermic needles tossed about, and human feces left for the team to find.
“I’m outraged and I am disappointed. I’m disappointed they don’t have their own field at the school that’s protected,” she said.
The baseball field isn’t on campus. The team practices in a nearby park, which is open to the public. Currently, there are two fields, one for practice that’s open to the public and not fenced, and another that is fenced and the team is only allowed to use on game day.
Velverde is speaking out on behalf of the kids because, she says, the coaches were silenced by the district. She believes something needs to be done.
“I’ve lived here my whole entire life and I shouldn’t be afraid to use the restroom in the park,” she said.
There’s a growing homeless population on the American River Parkway and parents say some of those problems are now spilling into the baseball field just 100 yards away.
“I just let him play baseball, I didn’t know that there would be things to worry about,” said Laura Wells, another baseball player’s mom.
The district said it’s working on the problem.
“The park district has really stepped up to do sweeps in the morning and we are working with them to invest in some improvements,” said Daniel Thigpen, spokesman for the district.
Parents concerned other sports like football have a home-field advantage.
“Why is baseball not being supported like the other sports?” asked Velverde.
According to the district, the school has a long-standing agreement with the parks to allow the baseball team to play.
“The football stadium as and other improvements to the Cordova high campus were funded through taxpayer dollars approved by voters through numerous sports measures,” Thigen said.
A school’s sports team now faced with a new challenge.
“I understand getting hurt from baseball, but not from a needle,” Wells said.
The players should just be dodging fly balls, but now they’re dodging evidence of an encroaching drug problem.
“I just kind of feel like they are leaving these kids behind. I’m not OK with it; my son’s not OK with it, and his teammates are no OK with it. They want to be invested in too,” said Velverde.
The district is looking into a long-term solution if the problem continues to be a threat to students.