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Most private schools remain open during threat to Los Angeles campuses

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LAUSD school buses sit idle in the Gardena Garage after school officials closed all campuses in the district following an unspecified threat. 

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Although Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the threat that closed all L.A. Unified schools did not mention private or parochial schools, the city’s independent schools decided individually what the safest course was for their community.

“In light of such a massive closing, we decided to close for the day,” said director Gabriel Ross of P.L.A.Y. Montessori preschool in Silver Lake.

Proximity was the key factor for the school that serves 100 2- to 5-year-olds. There’s an LAUSD junior high school across the street. P.L.A.Y. plans to reopen as normal tomorrow.

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Many of the private schools contacted in the city, however, said they were in session.

Pilgrim School, for instance, opened its doors in Westlake but decided to make some adjustments to Tuesday’s school day, said Patricia Kong, assistant head of school and director of admissions.

Some school bus pickups were modified. Recess was inside instead of outside. School buses were being used for a scheduled field trip, instead of public transportation as planned.

And while the school did send a voicemail and email to families and staff at 7:30 a.m., Kong said the phones have been “rather busy.”

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The school ranges in age from 2-year-olds to high schoolers.

Similarly, Windward School, which serves grades 7 to 12 in Mar Vista, decided to open after consulting with law enforcement this morning. Parents were sent an email before school started.  

While each school has its own procedures, Kong suggested that Los Angeles’ independent schools might benefit from establishing a more formal network or protocol for sharing information in an emergency.

It’s an idea P.L.A.Y.’s Ross said he supported, as a small school somewhat disconnected from a large network like LAUSD.

Kong said she plans to bring this up at the next meeting of the Los Angeles independent school consortium.

“We should all be on the same page,” she said.

Going through the growing pains of parenthood? Join me on the journey: @mmaltaisla.

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