Truancy issues improve in Canyon Crest neighborhood
Some of the truancy and drug-use issues facing the Canyon Crest Academy last year appear to be resolved, thanks to increased supervision at the school, the active presence of the San Diego Police Department and preventative measures taken by neighbors.
In the Airoso development of Pacific Highlands Ranch next door to the school, once a target hangout spot, residents report they are no longer seeing teens use the community as their own recreation center.
“We haven’t seen any drugs,” said Karen Dubey, Airoso Homeowner Association president. “I have not heard or seen the teenagers at Airoso.”
Last week during the lunch hour, students trickled off campus for their midday break in small groups, closely eyed by a guard on a golf cart circling the parking lot perimeter.
Toward the end of the last school year, Airoso residents complained about teenagers using their development off East Village Center Loop Road to eat lunch, smoke cigarettes and according to some allegations, use drugs.
Dubey said that they often crouched in a walled off garbage-bin area and were even spotted lounging by the community pool during school hours.
Over the summer, Airoso officials took the steel doors off the garbage building so it’s no longer secluded and added a gate to their neighborhood entrance. A security guard now stands watch.
Members of the San Diego Police’s juvenile services team often join the Airoso guard with a car parked on the road.
Juvenile services team officer Jane Jacobson has also seen the situation improve since last year.
“The drug issue at the apartment complex near Peppergrass has not been an issue since we’ve been patrolling there,” Jacobson said.
Dubey said she hopes that the teenagers have not found some place else to go, since they are no longer at Airoso.
Principal Brian Kohn said the school took action by having conversations with students, telling them to respect the neighborhood and that it was not appropriate for them to be over in Airoso.
“We want to be good neighbors,” said Kohn. “That’s our goal.”
While they have always had the golf carts and a security team, Kohn said all staff members consider it a part of their job make sure students are making the right choices.
Senior students are the only ones allowed off campus at lunch and they need to flash their ID card to a staff member when they leave, Kohn said.
Traffic and trash
It now appears the biggest issues on the Loop Road concerning the school are traffic, according to Jacobson and trash, according to Dubey.
The trash could be from other neighbors as well but Dubey said in the last month the empty lot of the future Pacific Highlands Ranch Village Center was “pretty junky.” Dubey said that Pardee Homes had to come out last week to clean it up and easily filled 10 garbage bags.
Dubey has complained to the school and Kohn said they have responded by placing a garbage can at the edge of their parking lot for student use.
Police are present at pick-up and drop-off times to help curb school traffic, an ongoing problem at most Carmel Valley schools.