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Schoolgate: Mount Washingtonians Decry Barrier


This morning's Eastsider L.A. carries a story about a neighborhood coming to grips with a steel gate and fence that have unexpectedly walled off the entrance to their local school:

"It was not uncommon on school days for the front doors of Mt. Washington Elementary to be swung wide open, a welcoming symbol for kids as well as neighbors of this hillside neighborhood. But when the school reopens after the summer break, students . . . will encounter a big wrought iron gate that was installed a few weeks ago."

What's puzzling and troubling to parents and neighborhood residents, the Eastsider L.A. notes, is that no one knows why the $20,000 barrier has been erected. There is a fence already girding the school, and the new one at the entrance won't prevent classroom vandalism if the vandals are really motivated.

Many jaded Angelenos' first reaction might be, "You mean they didn't

have a fence before?" Yet the story shows that there are still

communities in town that do not feel under siege -- and where people

expect to be consulted by authorities before barriers are thrown up to

separate them from their schools.