LAUSD closures are a disruption for adults, and a bit of relief for some students
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 Hollenbeck Middle School in Boyle Heights, Principal Randy Romero was locking up the front gates when a parent with a student in the passenger seat drove up to ask to ask if there would be school the next day.
“We’re going to send everyone a message by telephone and on our website,” Romero told the man in Spanish. “We’ll let you know.”
None of the school’s 1,100 students were on campus when the announcement was sent out that school was closed, and the campus was deserted at the opening bell because of a threat, Romero said.
The Eastside school was just one of more than 900 L.A. Unified schools, including charter schools and special education centers, closed because of the threat -- which was traced to an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany.
Around the corner, Ana Rodriguez, 11, a sixth-grade student at Sunrise Elementary School, walked with her older sister to the corner store to pick up some coffee and bread for an unexpected breakfast at home.
Ana woke up to see something about a bomb threat on the news, which frightened her. She was worried about her teachers, and is nervous about going back to school Wednesday.
“I’m scared that a bomb could explode at my school,” she said.
No bomb has been found and it’s not clear if the threat sent was a hoax. New York authorities also received a threat to city schools, but said that it was not credible.
Down the block, Maria Garibay walked hand-in-hand with her daughter, a third-grader at Euclid Avenue Elementary School. She was on her way to the store to buy eggs for breakfast for her children, who also include a son who is a ninth-grader at Roosevelt High School and another son who is a fifth-grader at Euclid Avenue Elementary.
She saw on the news that school was canceled, so she kept her children at home, but had not yet heard anything from the schools.
“Imagine if they didn’t cancel school and something happened -- it would be a tragedy,” she said in Spanish. “I’d much rather have them stay home with me.”
She said that, luckily, her husband had a day off from work and could watch the kids while she worked in the afternoon.
Alexis Diaz, a 12th-grade student at Roosevelt High, and his little brother, glided by the deserted high school campus on their hoverboards, sipping on steaming hot chocolate.
Diaz got a call from his cousin early Tuesday morning telling him that school was canceled. He thought his cousin was playing a prank on him, but he turned on the news and saw that it was true.
The cancellation of school was serendipitous for Diaz.
“I thought, well, that’s good, because I have finals,” he said. “I was ready for the AP Spanish test, but not history.”
He immediately took a photo of the newscast, which showed school board President Steve Zimmer hunched over a microphone at a morning news conference. He added text that said “No school” with a surprised-face emoji, and sent it on Snapchat to his friends.
So far, it had been viewed 97 times. Many of his classmates spread the news the same way.
Miguel Real, 13, rode up the block toward Yorkdale Elementary School in Highland Park on his skateboard and studied the message written with marker on butcher paper on the front door. “No school today,” it read.
He’d just been sent home from nearby Burbank Middle School and his old elementary school was on his way home. He needed to tell his mom, who knew nothing of the cancellation of classes across Los Angeles.
“She don’t even know yet what’s going on -- she’s going to freak,” Miguel said.
His friend Angel Juarez, 14, was on his way to school when he heard something about a terrorist bomb threat, which worried him a bit.
“But I was like “Hell yeah, no school!” he said.
Juan Carlos Cabrera, 15, knew something was wrong when he saw the principal of Collegiate Charter High School of Los Angeles, east of downtown L.A., standing at the entrance of the campus with her right hand raised.
“Stop -- do not come in here,” Principal Vanessa Jackson warned. “We heard someone was going to bomb our schools. Now calm down and return to your homes.”
“I thought, ‘Wow, that’s crazy,’” Juan, a freshman said. “On the other hand, we get the day off.”
He paused and added: “I thank the school district and police for keeping us students safe.”
Across the street from his home, the gates at Lorena Street Elementary School were locked and the campus was empty.
At Garvanza Elementary near Figueroa Street and York Boulevard, the campus was quiet and the gates locked by 7:45 a.m.
Principal Jennifer Gage said most families appeared to have received the notification because few families showed up. She said she was fielding phone calls and her plant manager was searching the campus.
But some families showed up to school anyway.
Michael Jones drove up with his two first-graders in tow, knocked on the front entrance and then pushed the button on the intercom outside the door.
“There’s no school today. Take your son home,” Gage told him over the intercom.
“What’s wrong?” Jones asked.
“School is closed for the day,” Gage said.
“Come back tomorrow?”
“We will send more information,” Gage said.
Jones returned to the car with a perplexed look on his face. “I’m so confused,” he said. “What’s wrong. I know it ain’t Christmas. What happened?”
When told that L.A. Unified had received a bomb threat and closed all schools, Jones said he’d received no notification and feels that district officials should have done a better job informing everyone.
“That’s scary. I love my kids,” he said.
Another parent, Ruben Martinez, said he also had not received any notification. But that didn’t seem to matter to his 10-year-old son, Bobby Crevelli.
“Yiperee! No school!” he whooped as he ran back down the school stairs.
Sarah Nichols of Echo Park walked by the Sandra Cisneros Learning Academy with her four young children shortly after 9 a.m. She was pushing her 1-year-old son in a stroller while her school-age kids -- sons, 6 and 7, and daughter, 5 -- ran ahead of her, giggling.
She had just gotten the children dressed for school when she heard on the news that school was canceled. They were just walking by the school later in the morning, knowing it was closed, but her sons still wore their new backpacks because they were proud of them and didn’t want to take them off.
Nichols said she was going to keep her children with her Tuesday.
“I would prefer for them to be with me under the circumstances,” she said.
Nichols didn’t want to explain to the young kids what terrorism was, what kind of danger might have awaited. She just told them it “wasn’t safe to go to school today.”
“I didn’t go into detail because I didn’t want their little minds to wander,” Nichols said.
Still, they asked questions, she said: “Mommy, what’s going to happen?”
She told them: “Let’s just pray about it. Let’s just pray to God that he keeps all the kids safe.”
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