'EVERYONE SHOULD BE SCARED' : Q: Are you personally afraid of violence on you campus? : Q: What worries you the most? : Q: What should be done about the problem?

Interviews for "Everyone Should Be Scared" were conducted by the following Times Staff Writers: Michael Arkush, Susan Diamond, Lynell George, Connie Koenenn, Irene Lacher, Gary Libman, Michael Quintanilla, Roy Rivenburg, Gaile Robinson, Lynn Smith, Jeannine Stein, Rose-Marie Turk and Nancy Wride

During the 1991-92 school year in the Los Angeles Unified School District, 383 students, including kids in elementary, junior high and high schools, were assaulted with a deadly weapon, according to district records. School officials confiscated 405 guns, 527 knives and 458 other weapons, including brass knuckles, screwdrivers and chains, in random searches or after fights and assaults were reported. Since January, three high school students have been shot--two fatally--on L.A. Unified campuses.

Three on-campus shootings in Los Angeles in the past year--two of them fatal--have caused Southern California high school students to worry about their personal safety as never before.

View staff writers visited two dozen campuses one day last week to ask students three questions about today's blackboard jungle. Their responses begin on E2

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"I think everyone should be scared . . . Personally, I don't think there is any solution to the violence until guns and stuff are taken away."

--Lorena Barbar, 16, junior, Los Angeles High School

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"If you are worried about being shot, you can't learn."

--Ricardo Martinez, 17, senior, Alemany High School, Mission Hills

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"Everywhere you go, no matter where you are, you have violence. When you speak about violence at Jefferson, it's minor . . . it's not guns and all that stuff. You have a bad seed wherever you go. We can't say we're perfect; we don't act as animals here, we act as civilized people. We tend to cope with each other and compromise to get through the four years we're here. Everything is the way it's supposed to be. You have good times and bad times. It's like life. . . . Everybody has labeled students: 'They're out of control' and 'We need more police.' And what you really need to do is talk to students and get to know them, begin to know how they think and learn (about) each other instead of judging them by the way they dress, how baggy the pants are, if the hat is turned one way. You don't judge by color, you judge by personality."

--Marcus Jackson, 17, senior, Jefferson High School, Los Angeles

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"You can take as many police officers as you want. It won't control the violence. The cure starts at home. If parents are tired of it, they need to put an end to it. Parents aren't teaching kids what they need to be taught."

--D.C. Stell, 16, senior, Alemany High School, Mission Hills

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"This is my school. I know who to avoid. I've seen .357s and .22s in the parking lot. I've heard guys say, 'Hey, check out my 9-mm.' They can afford nice guns at this school."

--Rick DeGeorge, 17, junior, Hart High School, Newhall

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"On this campus I do feel a little ignorant about the violence . . . There's a lot of denial . . . and ignorance of the problem. I do think there should be more of an awareness and talk about it . . . We have Tip Line--if you see a weapon on anybody at the school you can call this number and you remain anonymous--but I don't think that's enough."

--Regina Chow, 16, senior, Eagle Rock High School

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"I feel pretty safe when I come to school. It's never on my mind that someone will pull a gun on me. But my neighborhood is real rowdy. We stay inside. We always worry about whether my (younger) brother or sister is outside playing. There are drive-bys about three times a week. My brother, who's 5, has seen them in the street with guns in their hand after a drive-by. It's so ugly."

--Veronica Cantero, 17, senior, Garfield High School, East Los Angeles

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"I'm not really afraid of violence on campus. It's there, but I'm not watching my back or anything. There are little petty fights.

"I've seen gang violence in the streets, but not in school. I think they make it seem like there are fights every day and there aren't. It's a pretty calm school."

--Patricia Vargas, 17, senior, Garfield High School, East Los Angeles

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"The method of checking students is not foolproof. If you look like you are (the type who would be) carrying a gun and the detector beeps, they'll tell you to raise your shirt (so they can check.) If you don't look like the type, they'll say it must be your belt buckle. Once I brought an ear-piercing gun to school in my pocket for a friend. They took every eighth person out of our class for a random check. They put the detector over my pocket and it beeped. They said, 'Your keys?' I said, 'Yeah, my keys.' All you have to do is give a little confident smile to convince them."

--Mabel Mendez, 17, senior, Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles

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"I'm very afraid . . . For example, last week I was just standing in front of the school and these guys came up to me and they say, 'Where are you from?' They showed me a gun and I was, like, 'I'm from nowhere. I'm from no gang.' They've done that, like, five times to me. You don't know if you're gonna have a good day or a bad day or if someone might start shooting. There was a shooting here last week after school, like at 4:30, out on the street on the side of the school."

--Limwell Pentinio, 17, senior, Marshall High School, Los Angeles

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"I think everyone is scared of campus violence because it's always around and there is no way you can get out of it. Most of the time I feel safe on the campus, but when I hear rumors about stabbings or shootings you do get scared. I don't say, 'I'm not gonna go to school today because I'm scared to death that I'm gonna get killed.' But you do get scared . . . When a fight breaks out, there's always the fear that someone is gonna pull out a gun but the best thing is just not to go around it . . . I think parents should be involved because the school can't do everything. The teachers try their best."

--Lilian Lopez, 16, junior, Marshall High School, Los Angeles

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I was here last week when shots were fired (off campus near the school) . . . I'm worried about innocent people getting hurt and me not making it through the day. It could happen anywhere--in the classroom, no matter how secured a class or school is--there is always gonna be someone who is carrying a weapon . . . There should be more strict security."

--Liliana Cervantes, 16, sophomore, Marshall High School, Los Angeles

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"Violence is not something you can hide from anywhere. Last year during softball practice we were out in the field and there was a drive-by shooting . . . Violence is everywhere. It's not just John Marshall. It could happen in the mall. It's the whole society. Let me put it this way: You could always befriend gangs, but you never could befriend an accident."

--Olga Escamilla, 15, junior, Marshall High School, Los Angeles

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"Everyone thinks that just because nothing has happened here, it couldn't, but I think it's possible. There are fights all the time and people in gangs. A lot of people are edgy."

--Stephanie Enriquez, 17, senior, University High School, West Los Angeles

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"If there's just one event of violence, you're always scared. It stays on your mind. A lot of people have come here from Fairfax (after last year's shooting) because they were afraid. They have the sense it couldn't happen here . . . just because it's never happened here."

--Michael Kashani, 16, senior, University High School, West Los Angeles

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"I just don't think something would happen here . . . It's more of a family atmosphere. People just don't fight. The principal wants to meet everyone. There's a Human Relations Council where people meet and try to talk things out. If (an argument) escalates, it would be stopped. "

--Mike Schibel, 17, senior, Pacific Palisades High School

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"I don't think about it. I go to school, learn things, come back, go to basketball practice. That's it. I figure if you worry about violence too much, eventually you won't be able to go anywhere. I think about dying, but what would worry me the most is my father dying . . . If I don't teach my offspring what is right from wrong . . . that would worry me the most. So if I can't teach myself how to do right, I can't teach anybody else. I would tell people not to anticipate something happening . . . Just go about doing what you are supposed to."

--Dairence Strother, 15, freshman, Jefferson High School, Los Angeles

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"I'm not afraid because I've been around it enough to know how to stay out of trouble, how to stay out of gangs. I'm not worried for me, I worry for my friends who have gotten killed, who have gotten beat up because of gangs, because of violence. My advice is you don't tell kids what to do. Don't tell them: 'Stay out of gangs, they're bad' . . . Just explain what will happen and give them advice, because if you tell them 'don't do this, don't do that,' they will just use reverse psychology. That's what happened to my brother. My whole family used to tell him don't be in gangs--don't do that. And I used to support him a lot so he was doing good and then, all of a sudden, I couldn't help him any more because I started school and I wasn't there for him . . . and he's in jail now."

--Alma Lopez, 15, sophomore, Jefferson High School, Los Angeles

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"(One solution is to) make people more aware of other people, to understand the other person's point of view . . . Maybe bring gang leaders together and have them talk with each other and work out their differences. But I honestly don't know if that would work because there's just so much hatred around. They just hate for no reason and I can't see why."

--Jamie Miller, 16, junior, El Modena High School, Orange

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"You think about it when you're walking home and a car that you don't know drives by with tinted windows . . . You don't know what's going to happen . . . It's a scary situation."

--Moises Gamez, 17, senior, El Modena High School, Orange

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"There's always going to be someone who goes against the law. When they banned alcohol (during Prohibition), they had bootleggers. You can't stop everything. But maybe if they got rival gangs in a group session and they tried to talk it out, maybe they would find out why they're so angry at each other."

--Holly Tran, 17, senior, El Modena High School, Orange

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"Fairfax is made out to look like a really bad school. It's really not that bad. I'm not worried walking down the halls or at lunch. Unless you really get involved with gang cliques, you don't have to worry. When Demetrius (Rice) got killed (in January), the person who shot him didn't even go to Fairfax.

"There's always something that could be done. We're working on it right now. We're working on a student movement. We plan to have a big room where people could come at lunch once a week and speak out, say what they feel about violence, about anything. That will help people communicate better and understand each other more."

--Oree Bar, 16, senior, Fairfax High School, Los Angeles

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"Demetrius Rice was a friend of mine. Violence can happen to anyone anywhere. Demetrius Rice wasn't in a gang but he got killed. When that happened to him I thought that could have been me.

"People can say we should have metal detectors and random searches, but there are ways around that. There are eight entrances and I don't see metal detectors at every door. We can't afford it. Even if we had metal detectors at every door, who's to say someone wouldn't climb a fence? Students should watch out for each other."

--Terrell Lewis, 17, senior, Fairfax High School, Los Angeles

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"There should be people who blend in with us, like narcs, to see who's carrying weapons. They could be young-looking helpers who act as students, kind of like '21 Jump Street.' Numerous students have come up to me and asked if I wanted to buy a weapon--Saturday night specials, knives, daggers. Some carry weapons openly. One guy wore a dagger on a chain. He passed by security and nobody said anything."

--Jose Plaza, 16, junior, Hollywood High School

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"Sometimes when I look around I see many cholo members and I can tell by their clothing. If they're cholos, maybe they have weapons. I don't pay attention to anyone. I walk with my friends to my classroom. Even if they touch me, I don't pay attention."

--Arusyak Knadzyan, 15, sophomore, Hollywood High School

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"You know how the violence seems far away? It seems like it's getting closer and closer . . . More people are getting in gangs and stuff. I bet in the next two years it'll be right here."

--Steve Warner, 15, sophomore, University High School, Irvine

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"More than academic counselors, they should have health counselors to talk to kids about their mental states, about their problems."

--Clement Hsiao, 17, senior, University High School, Irvine

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"We're going to have our share (of violence) as much as any other school. But I don't feel at risk at any time when I see people who look like gangsters. I mean, you see them anywhere. At the mall. You see them at Knott's Berry Farm. What we're doing is pretty good. We have a minister of cultural diversity, which I am. One of the main problems is that people don't understand other cultures. That's where the fights and violence are. We have a big international week and do announcements every morning about some cultural event. That's basically the best thing you can do. The main reason they hate each other is because of what somebody else has told them. If they learn about other people, they might learn they're not so bad."

--David Jarrick, 16, junior, Westminster High School

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"There hasn't been that much violence here this year. Two years ago, there used to a lot of guns, knives, a lot of racial fighting between the Vietnamese, Hispanics and whites. It died off. Everyone just joined up and became taggers."

--Gabriel Ortiz, 16, junior, Westminster High School

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"I feel safe here. I went to Orange High my freshman year . . . One day I got chased by some skinheads. It's not very safe, even though there is a lot of security and the fence is higher than your head. The Mexicans are nicer here. They don't pick on me because I'm Asian. Same thing with the Samoans. They were very friendly too. Violence outside the campus isn't going to stop. But there is less violence in school. I volunteered to be an aide for supervision. I like the idea of having security around for different people. This school does have a lot of different ethnic groups. Their cultures don't mix and then there are arguments. You know, all of a sudden if you throw a bunch of different people together, there is something going to happen if you don't watch over them, right?"

--Hiep Do, 17, junior, Westminster High School

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"I don't think we can expect the people at school to solve all this."

--Virginia Lara, 15, junior, Granada Hills High School

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"Once in a while, when I'm walking down the hall, doing my own thing, I worry that if I happen to be looking in the wrong direction, there just might be somebody waiting for an excuse. But it's part of life. It's everywhere and you can't run away from it. That lady in Northridge was murdered last week just sitting in her car. My Mom gets wigged out if I run an errand at night. There are kids carrying guns in junior high school now. I don't know where it's going to end, but I'm glad I'm getting out of the high school scene. My older brother says that in college nobody worries about who shows up at parties."

--Mike Panman, 17, senior, Granada Hills High School

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"When you're coming to school, anybody can be a threat--you just don't know any more. You have to watch your back all the time. Is someone going to stab me? Is someone going to shoot me? It really makes me mad. I should get up in the morning worrying if I'm going to do good on a test. Instead, I'm worrying if I'm gonna get jumped after school. The solution? I don't know. It's not going to be metal detectors. It seems like there are so many kids doing the same thing that only God can help us."

--Carlos Morales, 17, senior, Granada Hills High School

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"The shooting at Dorsey (High School) scared me. I feel pretty comfortable at school--I have my group of friends and I basically stay with them, like a defense mechanism. We used to go to open parties--they pass out the fliers at school or football games--but no more. At any point, someone could take out a gun. Marc Squires (a Granada Hills student killed in 1990) was shot at a party. It makes me mad that I have to be scared to go places, or worry about being called out of class any moment to see if I have a gun or knife, or worry if somebody next to me has a gun or knife. I shouldn't be worried about that at the age of 17, but it's at the top of my list. I'm going to college and probably leaving California."

--Lisa Siskind, 17, senior, Granada Hills High School

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"In this school, if they catch you with something, they kick you straight out. That helps pretty much."

--Rafael Argumedo, 16, junior, Belmont High School, Los Angeles

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"I never worry about it. I just get up in the morning and come to school and I'm not involved in it."

--Jill Griggs, 16, junior, Wilson High School, Long Beach

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"What I try to do is get involved in clubs so I can get away from people, stay in classrooms. I'm afraid of getting shot or getting killed. I really want to live. And I want to be somebody, you know?"

--Alberto Cisneros, 16, junior, Wilson High School, Long Beach

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"I just think people need to respect other people, that's a big issue. Students don't respect other students."

--Kelly Newton, 16, senior, Wilson High School, Long Beach

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"The violence affects the ways the teachers perform. A lot of teachers get scared when there are gang members in the class. They try not to argue with them because they're afraid."

--Yasmin Saadat, 18, senior, Reseda High School

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"It happened once in my four years here--not a big chance that it will happen again."

--Allan Hunter, 17, senior, Reseda High School

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"Violence is something you see on TV. It seems like something far off."

--Julie Mott, 17, senior, Westlake High School, Westlake Village

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"When that (the Dorsey High shooting) happened, it really scared me. You think it's going to be a great year and then that happens. I don't think of that happening to us, but it did affect me. We're all the same age."

--Becky Basinger, 15, sophomore, Westlake High School, Westlake Village

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"People tend to prejudge the school because of the area that surrounds it, so of course they are going to say there is violence.'

Ricardo Cardova,17 Jefferson High School, Los Angeles

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"I'm not worried about violence here, not enough to look over my shoulder.'

Kevin Crook, senior, Westlake High School, Westlake Village

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"I have to worry every day and it's not right. It's scary. Every time you come to school, you think about it. You have to look everywhere to see if it's safe. The school should have done something before, not waiting till a student died.'

Tamika Rivera (at left with classmates Cesar Lomeli and Charla King), junior, Reseda High School

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"Everybody's afraid of violence because it's everywhere. You can't go around it. So you just try to stay away from it.'

Kishon Montez, 15, sophomore, John Marshall High School, Los Angeles

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"They should try to educate the students. Get everyone together in an assembly and just talk about it. Let them know the consequences.'

Sylvia Juarez (with Javier Alatorre), 17, senior, Mark Keppel High School, Alhambra

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"Since I've been here, there hasn't been much violence--nothing extreme . . . I guess it's just a stereotype that Manual is a bad school because we're in South-Central.'

Georgina Contreras, 17, senior, Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles

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"Sometimes I feel insecure, like when I'm riding my bike because I am alone and not inside a car.'

Santtu Makinen, exchange student from Finland, 17, Eagle Rock High School

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"I'm afraid that my life is in danger. . .The students will sneak knives and stuff on campus."

Laneshia Johnson, 16, Banning High School

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"When I was an incoming freshman, I'd heard, 'Oh, Santa Ana: gangs, shootings'. . .What I'm kind of afraid of is outside, going home from school."

Maria Ramirez, 17, senior, Santa Ana High School

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