School board to discuss Andersen fencing

Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustees will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday to discuss possible fencing at Roy O. Andersen Elementary.

The board most recently discussed the issue in November when it approved fencing at Adams and Victoria elementary schools.

Fencing at Andersen, at 1900 Port Seabourne Place in Newport Beach, was also discussed. But because so many parents objected, trustees decided to postpone the decision about Andersen, said school board President Karen Yelsey.

"A lot of people consider that area to be their backyard," she said. "Instead of making a rash decision, we agreed to go back and look at it again."

Since then, the district has enlisted the help of three local agencies to assess the need for fencing and examine the scope of the project proposed for Andersen, according to a news release.

The Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center with the Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit, the Alliance of Schools for Cooperative Insurance Programs and the Newport Beach Police Department will present their findings during the Tuesday meeting.

Conversations about school security and fencing started after the Sandy Hook school shooting. Officials found that Adams and Victoria, both of which are in Costa Mesa, and Andersen were the only elementary schools in Newport-Mesa without fencing around the instructional areas, said district spokeswoman Laura Boss.

The district circulated a survey to the three school communities and surrounding neighbors in October to gauge support for fencing.

More than 600 people took the survey with the majority — 374 — coming from the Andersen community. Of the Andersen respondents, 62% opposed building any type of fencing on the campus.

The public is encouraged to attend the meeting to share their thoughts with trustees, Yelsey said.


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