‘We’re not doing anything’: Students call parents to pick them up on first day of LAUSD strike

Reseda High students Roosevelt Jimenez, 17, left, and friend Kimberly Aquino, 17, right, sit in the school auditorium as UTLA teachers are out on strike in Reseda.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Yarenny Einentel, a 15-year-old freshman at Elizabeth Learning Center in Cudahy, came to school Monday because she was curious about what would happen on the first day of a planned massive strike by teachers.

High school students were given reading and math assignments to do in the gym, she said. Unimpressed, she called her mom to pick her up and doesn’t intend to show up the rest of the week.

Instead, she said, “I’ll probably sleep.”

Inside the school’s main office, a line of parents and guardians came to pick up their children by midmorning.


One parent, who didn’t want to share her name, said her ninth-grader son wanted to be picked up. “We’re not doing anything,” he told her over the phone.

As thousands of teachers and supporters rallied in the streets to protest conditions and pay at Los Angeles Unified School District, some students and administrators described auditoriums and classrooms with fewer pupils and little actual instruction.

At Reseda High, only about half of the school’s 1,350 students came Monday, said school Principal Melanie Welsh.

In the school’s auditorium, about 100 students mostly ignored the large screen, which showed former First Lady Michelle Obama singing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)” on a segment of “Carpool Karaoke” with talk show host James Corden.

At Venice High School, all the students were told to go the gym and were later sent to different classrooms, said special education assistant Charles Feldman.

In one classroom, students looked at their phones or talked to each other, “not doing much as far as any learning,” Feldman said.

At Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies, high school students were directed to the auditorium. Attendance at the school, which normally has 2,000 students, was down by about half on Monday, officials said.

One girl outside could be heard saying, “I’m leaving. This is so boring.”