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Monticello students protest at City Hall

School seeks move to Castaic

Posted: October 30, 2008 8:51 p.m.
Updated: January 1, 2009 5:00 a.m.

Monticello Prep School student Alex Cranert leads a pack of fellow student and parent protesters as they make their way into City Hall Thursday.

 
Students from Monticello Preparatory Academy took their fight to City Hall Thursday armed with a declaration, a petition and a letter to Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich in support of the school’s move to Hasley Canyon.

“(Antonovich) told us that we could go to Hasley Canyon to have our school, and then some people in Hasley Canyon complained and he changed his mind,” said Monticello sixth-grader Isabel Hedinsson. “So we want him to restore our approval, since he already said yes.”

The county approved the school’s move from a shopping center in Valencia to a converted Hasley Canyon home in Castaic in August, then rescinded the approval in September, saying the project was incorrectly approved. Monticello’s owners, Terry and Rebecca Cranert, have since resubmitted the project for approval.

“Everything was moving along and then we got stopped in our tracks — they just changed the rules,” Rebecca Cranert said. “Our school is called Monticello because we hold Thomas Jefferson as our role model.

“So we thought about what Jefferson would do if he thought something wasn’t right, and we wrote our own declaration.”

Carrying signs with messages like “No more playing favorites!” and “Restore our approval now!” the students marched into the Santa Clarita City Hall building, which houses other offices besides the city’s, and up the stairs to the second floor to present their declaration to Antonovich Senior Field Deputy Rosalind Wayman.

Monticello fifth-grader Griffin Krumrine — dressed as Thomas Jefferson in a colonial outfit complete with dyed red locks peeking out from under his trifold hat — read Wayman the students’ Declaration of Determination and Rights.

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people, the students, families and friends of Monticello Preparatory School, to take a stand for what they believe to be right, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to take that stand,” Griffin read.

After Griffin read the entire declaration, which asks that the school’s approval be restored immediately, Wayman was presented with a copy of the declaration, a letter to Antonovich and a petition to approve the school. The petition had 738 signatures.

Monticello Prep offers a classical education including the study of Latin and other languages, along with instruction about world cultures. Several parents accompanied the students on their “field trip.”

“They’re making it a civics lesson, plus the students have a huge stake in this — it will affect them more than anyone else,” said Lynnea Clark, parent of a Monticello sixth-grader.

Wayman said she was very impressed with the information provided by the students and with their declaration. “I appreciate that they put this together as a group,” Wayman said. “This is certainly an issue that the supervisor is very interested in, and I will share the declaration and the petition with him.”

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