Neighbors make nice

The shifting of schools around Chico is making for big changes, and not everyone has been quick to embrace them. One population that has historically had to fend off prejudice is students at alternative schools such as Fair View High. The school includes teens who, for one reason or another, learn better in a nontraditional environment.

That’s why we bristled when the owner of a nearby service station appeared at a school board meeting last spring to express his concerns about the alternative school locating at the former Jay Partridge Elementary site. It sounded like he was buying into the same “alternative students are hoodlums” perception.

We were pleased last week to learn from the director of alternative education, Bernie Vigallon, that Bill Thornton, the Chevron station’s owner, is not only a longtime supporter of alternative ed, but that the close quarters with the school has been working out well since school started there three weeks ago.

Fair View staff has been supervising students who go to the station to buy snacks. The students agreed to go in only two or three at one time, and Thornton agreed not to sell cigarettes to students on their way to and from school or lunch. A former Fair View student is even a clerk there. “It’s a whole new customer base,” Vigallon said.

We applaud the neighborliness.