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Oily Goo Causes School Closure; Pupils Moved

About 100 angry parents and supporters held a peaceful demonstration Wednesday as students were bused away from Park Avenue Elementary School, which was closed after an oily substance seeped into the schoolyard.

Many of the protesting parents said they were keeping their children home because they feared for the students’ safety at their new campus, Russell Elementary School in South-Central Los Angeles, which some parents said is in a gang area. Other parents said they wanted the children to remain in their home neighborhood and were opposed to the seven-mile bus ride.

School officials told parents that students would be safe and that Russell does not have a gang problem. Some teachers and administrators from Russell also were on hand to greet the students. Russell, which is on a traditional school calendar, was closed for the summer. Park Avenue School is on a year-round schedule.

There were 650 students scheduled to be moved. However, 244 failed to show up. Twenty-three were absent because of illness. There were 335 first- through sixth-grade students taken to Russell and 84 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students taken to Clara Street School about three blocks from Park Avenue School.

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Officials said students will remain at Russell and Clara schools during the summer. Officials said they will seek other locations for the students while Park Avenue School is closed for an investigation into the source of a mysterious, oily substance that has seeped up through the school’s asphalt playground.


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