Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon called a public meeting this week to discuss what some residents are calling a "security problem" at the Phoenix Academy, a drug rehabilitation center and school for teen-agers.
Homeowners near the facility on Eldridge Avenue cite several recent instances of teen-agers walking off the grounds without permission. Phoenix Academy Director Elizabeth Stanley-Salazar said a total of nine residents walked out of the voluntary treatment center in two incidents in September and earlier this month.
But Stanley-Salazar stressed that Phoenix Academy is not a lockup center. "I'm not running a prison here," she said. "Kids will run away. But the kids who are here do not belong in prisons, and I cannot lock the front doors to keep them from going."
She added that Phoenix officials have responded to concerns of some of its neighbors regarding security, and that the facility has increased the height of the concrete walls at the rear of the property from 6 to approximately 7 1/2 feet.
An aid to Alarcon said the councilman read a list of the conditions Phoenix Academy must comply with in order to keep its operating permit, and gave residents a chance to comment on how well the academy has met the conditions.
Nancy Snider, president of the Lake View Terrace Homeowners Assn., agreed to take a walk-through of the facility to check on the areas of concern.