A few days ago, someone online referred to some of the Mesa Verde fence protesters as “anti-fence.”
I attended the initial fence meetings at all three schools and attended the recent follow-up meeting at Adams. I have also had countless exchanges with people in Eastbluff and Mesa Verde, and based on all this, I can state that if there are any “anti-fencers,” they are a tiny minority.
Everyone gets it: We need fences to protect our kids. Whether they are truly a deterrent remains to be seen, but this much I know: We will never know exactly how many students have been saved by a fence. The wingnut who shows up at a school with an Uzi but changes his mind because he can’t get in is not going to call Bear St. and tell district officials that the fence stopped him.
It’s better to have a fence than to have regret.
I grew up in Los Angeles. The first elementary school I attended was Woodcrest in the South Central part of the city. I spent a nanosecond at an elementary school in Torrance, then finished elementary, junior high (now middle school) and high school in the LA Unified School District.
Every K-12 school I attended had a fence around the property, including the elementary school in Chicago I attended before moving to Los Angeles. The fence at my high school was built while I was a student there. Back then, there were no campus assaults of the frequency we see today. Fences were built mostly to prevent vandalism. And they were chain link, too. No one cared. Like a lot of kids, the chain link fences never stopped us from getting inside to play. We “hopped” the fence, played, and left. No one cared.
The heated debates at Anderson and Adams have never been about whether to install a fence. The issues from day one have been poor communication, the failure to keep one’s word, and most important, a listening challenge that seems to be part of the DNA of the district.