Alternative High School Makes Sunset Neighbors Nervous

By Chris Roberts
|  Monday, Jun 20, 2011  |  Updated 4:07 PM PDT
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Alternative High School Makes Sunset Neighbors Nervous

An alternative high school has one San Francisco neighborhood nervous.

A high school intended for juvenile offenders transitioning out of the criminal justice system and into mainstream society is making some Inner Sunset neighbors nervous.

Most of the 50 former juvenile offenders who attend Principal Center Collaborative near 43rd Avenue and Judah Street already pass through the Inner Sunset neighborhood, where the former Newcomer High School campus on 7th Avenue will house the juvenile offenders in the spring 2012 semester, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

But having students with a criminal history on the N-Judah Muni metro line is one thing; having them in the neighborhood is another, according to the co-president of a neighborhood group.

"A school housing juvenile offenders is stressful and has implied risk," said Al Minvielle, co-president of the Inner Sunset Park neighbors, who said that "someone [needs] to be held accountable" if the students cause mischief or other grief among their new neighbors.

Among the demands by neighbors are escorts for the students to and from public transportation, the installation of security cameras, and a promise that the school will keep its 3-to-1 student-teacher ratio.

Fears are running high, the newspaper reported, because of 1995 incident in which a volunteer teacher from an Inner Sunset alternative high school was arrested on suspicion of tagging up to 60 homes.

"They’re coming in to my neighborhood," Minvielle said. "Here are my concerns if they go the way I’m fearful. I want some recourse if they go that way. If they don’t, then I applaud their success."

Most of the Principal Center Collaborative students attend the school due to a court order. The Inner Sunset campus, to be renamed Big Picture, will instruct both students on probation and at-risk youth who choose to attend.

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