High school students from throughout the city testified at a special hearing in Los Angeles City Hall on Monday arranged by the City Council's Ad Hoc Committee on Violence in Schools.
What was supposed to be a firsthand accounting of campus violence turned into a lesson in how inured some young people are by big city life, how skeptical they are of city government and how proud they are of the schools they attend.
Despite leading questions from Councilman Mike Hernandez, many students declared their campuses safe and said they are not afraid even though some classmates do occasionally bring guns on campus. Others said school violence is getting attention now because it has spread from the inner city to suburban areas.
"Violence does not start in the schools," said one student from Washington Preparatory High School. "It starts in the homes and in the minds."