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Whittier : Residents Submit Petition to Get Day Center Removed

A group of 30 west Whittier residents has threatened legal action and a recall election unless Whittier City School District board members remove a school for troubled youngsters from their neighborhood.

The group presented a petition they said contains 550 signatures asking that the Whittier Community Day Center be relocated. They also submitted a letter criticizing the board for failing to notify all local residents before approving the center, which opened in October.

The school is run by Los Angeles County, but is located on Whittier City School District property at the former Benjamin Franklin Elementary campus. It is equipped to serve as many as 34 Whittier-area students in grades five through eight, most of whom have been involved in offenses ranging from truancy to vandalism or drug possession. County officials insist that the school is safe and necessary to divert pupils from further trouble, but residents say the students are at risk of tangling with local gang members.

At their Tuesday meeting, Whittier City board members made the residents no promises. “We will respond as soon as possible and we hope to find a win-win solution to the problem,” board member Owen Newcomer said.

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