With Los Angeles schools back open, families can expect to see more police
Students cross Fountain Avenue as they return to Thomas Starr King Middle School in East Hollywood on Wednesday morning.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Students return to Thomas Starr King Middle School in East Hollywood on Wednesday morning.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Tiffany Hooper drops off her 8-year-old daughter Leah Hooper with a hug at Germain Street Elementary School in Chatsworth.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Students return to Franklin High School in Highland Park on Wednesday, a day after all LAUSD campuses were closed by a threat.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles School Police officers Alex Donoso, left, and Heriberto Valdez at Franklin High School on Wednesday morning as schools reopen after Tuesday’s closure.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Student board a bus in front of Franklin High School in Los Angeles as schools reopen on Wednesday.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Sunny Vargas, 16, left, Carlos Bello, 16, and Natalie Matossian, 14, raise flags outside Franklin High School as Los Angeles schools reopened on Wednesday.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
A memorial of candles marks the spot where Andres Perez, 17, of Montebello was struck and killed by a city truck as crossed the street near his school at the corner of Avenue 60 and Figueroa Street in Highland Park.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
L.A. Unifed Police Officer Jose Zamora looks inside a classroom while conducting a safety check at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles school police search Breed Street Elementary in Boyle Heights.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Shortly after L.A. Unified announced Tuesday’s school closures, a 17-year-old male student was fatally struck by a city service truck while crossing a Highland Park street. The teen was near Avenue 60 and Figueroa Street at about 7:30 a.m. when he was hit, Los Angeles Police Officer Jane Kim said.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
A police officer secures the Robert F. Kennedy Learning Center in Los Angeles after an email threat forced the closure of all LAUSD schools on Tuesday.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles TImes)
Elementary schoolchildren play on a snow hill at the Studio City Recreation Center in Studio City. All were from area public and private schools that were closed Tuesday.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Elementary schoolchildren play on a snow hill at the Studio City Recreation Center in Studio City after all Los Angeles Unified School District campuses and several private schools were closed after a security threat.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Unified School District Supertintendent Ramon Cortines talks to reporters about the closure of LAUSD campuses.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Venice High School principal Dr. Oryla Wiedoeft talks with 17-year-old twin brothers Michael and Erik Sanchez about the closure of schools in the LAUSD on Dec. 15.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Venice High School senior Bernadette Rios, 17, waits for her mother to pick her up after officials closed all LAUSD campuses on Dec. 15.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
School buses are idle in the LAUSD’s Gardena garage after officials closed all campuses in the district following a “credible threat’ of violence on Dec. 15.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
A Los Angeles School Police officer checks in with officials at the LAUSD’s Gardena garage, where school buses are parked Dec. 15 as officials investigate a threat against the district.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
El Camino Real Charter Academy in Woodland Hills is among the LAUSD campuses closed on Dec. 15.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
El Camino Real Charter Academy freshman Nazanin Nayeri, 15, calls home to be picked up from the Woodland Hills school on Dec. 15 after being informed that classes were canceled due to a threat.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Ben Gertner, principal of Theodore Roosevelt High School, center; Jose Espinoza, right, principal of Math, Science, Technology Magnet Academy; and a volunteer stand outside locked school gates on Dec. 15.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Hale Charter Academy Principal Chris Perdigao tells parents that the Woodland Hills campus is closed.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
When Los Angeles Unified schools reopen Wednesday, students, teachers and parents can expect to see more police even though a threat that closed campuses the day before was determined not credible, officials said.
Officials spent Tuesday assessing an emailed threat, and concluded that it was “not credible,” according to Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Even so, the Los Angeles Police Department is increasing its presence in schools. LAPD will patrol the district more than usual on Wednesday, Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference.
L.A. Unified School District police officers will wear uniforms for the rest of the week, said their chief, Steven Zipperman. The goal, he said, is to ensure kids “know we’re here to … reduce fear and anxiety.”
LAPD Public Information Officer Mike Lopez said he could not specify how many LAPD officers would be on campuses Wednesday. “We will be sending patrol units pretty much around all the schools,” he said. “What’s it’s going to come down to is our basic police cars ... will be assigned to go by every hour or maybe every other hour to give extra patrol, high visibility around the school area.”
Parents and students were split on how they wanted to see their schools respond.
On Tuesday morning, parent Riti Shimkhada awoke to confusion. Her sister texted her around 6 a.m. to tell her something was going on in the schools, but she didn’t hear from the district, so she turned to the news and learned about the closure before LAUSD contacted her.
She’s not sure she would change anything at Westwood Charter Elementary, where her child is a student. “I don’t think police are necessary,” she said. “But maybe I would like to see more adult presence. The principal is usually on the yard in the morning, but a little more administrators would be great.”
Most schools have entrances that are watched by either volunteers or unarmed security aides, and visitors must sign in. The district’s high schools each have at least one school police officer. One third of middle schools also have a police officer, and another third have an unarmed safety officer.
Coby Yollis, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, said he would not want to see heightened security. “After the investigation is over, if it turns out there’s nothing wrong, putting extra security in the school would only make people feel more in danger,” he said. “It wouldn’t really do any good. It would be a waste of resources.”
Yollis spent Tuesday with his girlfriend. Although he thought the threat was a hoax from the moment he learned school was canceled, he supported the decision to shut down schools, saying a disruption is better than a tragedy.
Brandon Halverson has children at Beethoven Elementary and Paul Revere Middle School, and he has noticed some lax security. “Parents ... know there are some doors they can sneak into if they’re in a rush,” he said. “That really needs to be addressed.”
He specifically wants more security on a regular basis in the lower grades. “I told my wife I would be more comfortable having an armed guard or patrol officer stationed at every school,” he said. “I know there are officers assigned to high schools, but maybe it’s time they think about assigning them to middle or elementary schools. As a parent, you worry about your kids.”
Times staff writer Howard Blume contributed to this report.
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