CHICO, Calif. -

In a matter of safety over convenience, Chico High School will keep a gate at the corner of West Lincoln and Citrus Avenues closed during school hours.

A pedestrian and bicycle path cuts from the north parking lot across the Chico High School grounds between the athletic fields and out to West Lincoln and Citrus.  It provides a shortcut from West Sacramento Avenue to the Chico State campus and is used by college students as well as neighbors.  But there have been altercations.
 
"We've had theft of PE equipment," said Bill Hanlon, Chico High School's principal. "We've had verbal confrontations with our teaching staff, and we've had older students call out to our younger female students in class."

"We've had people under the influence of alcohol and other drugs," Hanlon added.

Beginning next Monday -- the first day of school -- the gate will remain locked during school hours from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Hanlon, who is also a parent of a Chico High School student, said he sympathizes with those who like an open campus atmosphere, but has to balance that with safety concerns.

"We don't want it to be a prison," he said.  "We don't live in an inner city where schools are basically fenced in completely."

"We want to have an open campus as long as we can manage it."

 The first day of the new school year is August 18.