Los Angeles schools are back in session, but violence seems closer to home
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)
Law enforcement officers gather at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in response to the “credible threat” of violence directed at Los Angeles Unified schools on Dec. 15.(KTLA)
Hale Charter Academy Principal Chris Perdigao tells parents that the Woodland Hills campus is closed.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Idle school buses at a bus yard in Gardena.(KTLA)
The Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts is one of the LAUSD campuses closed.(KTLA)
Gardena Senior High School is one of the LAUSD campuses closed.(KTLA)
At Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Feliz on Wednesday morning, a stream of students trudged past taped handmade “NO SCHOOL TODAY” signs, dated Tuesday.
Julio Felipe, 13, ticked away the final moments before first bell with his friends in front of the school steps, his tongue stained electric blue from a morning lollipop.
“I feel like this school is safe,” he said. “Out of all the schools in L.A., why would it be ours [that would be targeted]?”
After a day of disruption for students, parents and teachers, Los Angeles public schools reopened Wednesday morning. As the day began, Deputy Superintendent Michelle King released a statement reassuring the city that “all schools are open, and operating on a regular schedule this morning.” The city promised an increased police presence, in an effort to transition students back into the rhythm of a threat-free school day.
“The kids are in good spirits, and we just want to keep it that way,” he said.
Naulls said he agreed with the decision to close the schools. “LAUSD erred on the side of caution, and I don’t think many parents would disagree with that,” he said.
Max Graenitz, whose daughter attends the school, agreed. “They’re being overcautious, but I don’t mind, even if it turns out to be fake,” he said.
Madeline Harmon and Lian Macdonough dropped off their kids and lingered outside Harmon’s black SUV. Despite the promise of more police patrols around school campuses, they said they noticed a lack of any visible security presence.
“Do we feel safe? No,” Harmon said. She criticized the district for failing to act the night the threat was received. “How do I know there’s not a bomb on the soccer field right now?”
The attacks in San Bernardino have set Harmon and her son on edge, but she said there were plenty of other reasons to be scared. “It’s not just San Bernardino. [There is also] Columbine, Sandy Hook. Look at how many schools have been attacked in the last five years,” Harmon said. “I’m afraid because you just don’t know what can happen.”
MORE ON THE L.A.U.S.D. CLOSURE
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.