OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Concern over dirty drug needles found on Olympia s Madison Elementary campus has prompted the school to take action.

While the school was closed for construction this fall, parents say it became a hangout for the homeless with the area littered with dirty drug needles.

You have to be concerned, I ve got three little kids, said Nathan Allan, a parent.

Allan along with other parents from the group Concerned Olympians brought the issue to the attention of Principal Domenico Spatola-Knoll, who took swift action. To raise awareness and protect students, the school created the Stop! Don t Touch! Get an Adult! Campaign.

Without safety, we really can t do our job educating kids, he said.

Through the help of the Thurston County Health Department, Spatola-Knoll and all staff members received training on how to spot and discard unsafe materials. Custodians also do an extensive sweep of the campus throughout the day.

It s our job to help them understand that things on the ground might be dangerous, might be sharp, help them recognize things they shouldn t touch, said Spatola-Knoll.

Allan says what could carry HIV or Hepatitis may look like treasure to young kids.

It s different. You don t see a needle every day, said Allan.

The school has now placed a needle collection bin in the nurse s office and hung posters addressing the issue all over campus.

In his community, Allan says it s a lesson kids need to learn.

We live in a great neighborhood; the reality is not everyone is a good person. It gives you peace of mind; you want to know that you re sending your kid to a safe place, said Allan.

An exact number of how many items have been picked up at Madison Elementary was not available.

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