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Students and families reunite after a shooting at Sal Castro Middle School in Westlake on Thursday.
Students and families reunite after a shooting at Sal Castro Middle School in Westlake on Thursday. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Gunfire erupted in a classroom at Sal Castro Middle School on Thursday morning. Two 15-year-olds were hit — one in the head. A 12-year-old girl was taken into custody.

The incident immediately revived an ongoing debate about how best to keep students in the Los Angeles Unified School District safe.

The nation’s second-largest district relies on both policing and counseling to try to prevent campus violence. It also has an experienced team of counselors to deal with the aftermath — although most deadly episodes happen outside school.

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Frightened parents rushed to the scene of a Los Angeles middle school Thursday morning, crowding outside the gates, desperate to hear if their children were safe. Word had spread fast that a gun had gone off in a classroom and that students had been shot.

News helicopter footage showed a handcuffed girl in jeans and a sweatshirt being led away by police officers, one of them carrying her backpack.

As police investigated a shooting at a Westlake middle school on Thursday, parents and local officials questioned how a 12-year-old girl apparently was able to get a semi-automatic pistol and smuggle it into a classroom.

Four students were injured in the shooting at Sal Castro Middle School, and two of them remain in the hospital. A 15-year-old boy was in stable condition with a gunshot wound to his temple and a 15-year-old girl is in fair condition with a gunshot wound to her left wrist.

Frantic parents rushed to Salvador Castro Middle School in Westlake on Thursday, desperate for word about the safety of their children after a shooting injured two students.

Tyresha McNair was standing at the corner of Beverly Boulevard and Loma Drive with her young niece seeking information about her daughter, who attends the school. McNair was among many parents who rushed to the scene after seeing reports of the shooting on television.

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The shooting Thursday at a middle school in the Westlake area comes amid a debate in the Los Angeles Unified School District about the effectiveness and fairness of random searches for weapons on campuses.

LAUSD is the only school district its size that requires every middle and high school campus to conduct daily random searches for weapons using metal-detector wands.

A 12-year-old girl was booked on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm Thursday after a shooting at Sal Castro Middle School left four students injured, authorities said.

Los Angeles police do not believe that the shooting was intentional, spokesman Josh Rubenstein said Thursday evening.

California State University's Board of Trustees has appointed Adela de la Torre the new president of San Diego State, reflecting a push by the nation's largest public university system to diversify its top campus leaders.

De la Torre, who is currently the vice chancellor of student affairs and campus diversity at UC Davis, is the ninth woman appointed as permanent Cal State president under Chancellor Timothy P. White. She is the first woman to serve as San Diego State's president and replaces Sally Roush, who has led the campus on an interim basis since last summer.

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  • Betsy DeVos
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • California State University
  • LAUSD
(Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

A video of a Pico Rivera teacher and councilman calling the military the “lowest of the low” has caused outrage.

School board members are trying to find common ground as they search for the next L.A. Unified superintendent.

The Education Department's plan to provide only partial loan forgiveness to some students defrauded by for-profit colleges could reduce overall relief payments by about 60%, according to a preliminary analysis obtained by the Associated Press.

The agency announced in December that it was discontinuing the Obama administration's practice of fully wiping out the loans of students deceived by the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges under the borrower defense rule.

Cal State University Chancellor Timothy P. White delivered a reality check Tuesday in his annual address to students, faculty and campus leaders, challenging "status quo" thinking and calling out "unsustainable" budget demands facing the nation's largest public university system.

"It's important to keep costs as low as possible for our students, while also understanding the reality that a quality education does take resources," White said in his state of the university speech during a Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach. But "the simple truth is that someone always pays — it's who pays that has changed over time."

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