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California

For some students, escaping high school during L.A. teachers’ strike not so hard

Bell High School seniors Arlene Maldonado, Anahi Gallardo and Martha Toro managed to escape past the barrier set up in front of the school’s main entrance to stop students from leaving.

“We weren’t doing much, so we just decided to leave,” said Toro, 17, whose black hair and clothes were wet from the rain. She and her friends holed up in a Starbucks after their escape.

Inside the school, students were separated by grades, Gallardo said. Seniors filled the cafeteria, juniors were put in the auditorium, and sophomores and freshman crowded the gym.

After breakfast, all but the freshmen were crammed into the auditorium, where they sat through a routine presentation on school safety.

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They weren’t impressed by what would follow: an activity involving a Maya Angelou video, which they were instructed to take notes on, and a discussion exercise about what they learned.

“They didn’t seem to know what to do with us,” Maldonado said, adding that everyone looked bored.

If the strike continues through the week, Toro doesn’t plan to go to school after witnessing what the days will be like without their teachers.

She said she and her friends will take advantage of free Metro passes and museum admissions around the city, starting with LACMA.

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“They’re doing it for a good cause,” Toro said of the teachers’ strike.

Though the three seniors are in the school’s magnet program, which typically has smaller class sizes — about 30 students — Toro said her mixed-student art class has more than 40.

“The teacher is like, always all over the place and we’re not even learning,” she added.


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