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Fences dismantled at three South Bay high schools

September 23, 2010 |  8:12 am

For the first time in years, three schools in the Centinela Valley Union High School District in the South Bay do not have iron fences surrounding their campuses.

Eight-foot-high fences in front of Hawthorne, Lawndale and Leuzinger high schools were removed during summer vacation to make the campuses "more welcoming," said Mike Ono, associate principal of Leuzinger High School in Lawndale.

The fences were installed in the 1990s, when the schools experienced more violence and racial tension, both on campus and off. During that period, gunshots rang out several times near the campuses, wounding students.

Administrators worried about gang violence, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots also created concern.

"I think the fences were taken down to make it a more welcoming school," Ono said. "When fences are up, it's a barrier."

Ono said the fences had been erected in the students' interest.

"It was protecting students from people coming on to campus from off campus," he said.

-- My-Thuan Tran