Santa Monica High School students will continue to have open campus privileges, until school board members have studied alternatives to Principal Nardy Samuels' proposal to close the campus during lunchtime for everyone but seniors.
The plan for the 2,700-student campus came after a year of complaints from neighbors about students loitering and vandalizing surrounding property and a month after a drive-by shooting next to the campus on Pico Boulevard. No one was hurt in the shooting, but Samuels warned that an open campus is "a disaster waiting to happen."
At a Tuesday meeting, some board members suggested providing more food services, security, bathrooms and an enclosed eating area to entice students to stay on campus during lunchtime. But board members also questioned the cost of providing additional services and directed Supt. Gene Tucker to research the issue and report back.
Board members Pamela Brady and Brenda Gottfried said they would support a "semi-open campus," where only seniors would be allowed to eat off campus. But they said that before casting their votes, they needed more information on the costs of providing additional services for the students who remain on campus.
"I am very ambivalent," Gottfried said. "I don't know how best to take care of these children. I am not ready to vote on this. I'd like to see these issues addressed first."