Courtesy of the South Pasadena Public Library
According to records from the South Pasadena Police Department, Verlin Spencer entered the South Pasadena Unified School District administration building at 1327 Diamond Ave. around 2:15 p.m. on May 6, 1940. The following images are crime scene photos taken by the South Pasadena police.
School shootings have grown common in recent years, but that wasn't the case in 1940, when a shocking case of multiple murder unfolded in quiet South Pasadena.
The arrest last month of two South Pasadena High students who authorities say threatened a mass murder at their school has revived memories of the killings 74 years ago.
Authorities received a tip of a planned shooting in the recent case. Back in 1940, there was no warning of the crime to come.
Roughly 14,000 residents lived in South Pasadena at the time. Serious crimes rarely occurred in the Los Angeles suburb. Pasadena felt so safe that many residents didn't lock their doors.
"It was a wonderful place to go to school and grow up," remembers former South Pasadena Junior High School student Glenice Hershberger, now 88.
Developer Oscar Menjivar sits with student Jesus Vargas, checking out the Pearson education software loaded onto every L.A. Unified iPad.
This story has been updated.
Most Los Angeles Unified schools are not using the learning software pre-loaded on to iPads as part of the the district's one-to-one technology expansion, according to an interim report commissioned by the school district.
Staff complained the administration's chosen software simply wasn't "robust." They told researchers lessons were often missing or incomplete.
"Administrators at three schools said that components of the ELA curriculum were missing (e.g., narrative writing, Grade 3 curriculum), and administrators at two schools said that mathematics components were missing," according to American Institutes of Research, authors of the report, Evaluation of the Common Core Technology Project.
District officials held a press conference Thursday to say they're working with Pearson to close the gaps, and the full software will be delivered to schools soon.
Dan Sapia shuts off water to the fire sprinklers at Hoover Street Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified school district. His plumbing crew is often pulled from one emergency job, such as repairing this water main leak, to another, leaving little time for outstanding requests.
Dan Sapia, left, consults Christopher Cadena while working on a leaking water main at Hoover Street Elementary School. The Los Angeles Unified School District plumbing crew estimated that the repair would take three days. Until the water main feeding the fire sprinklers is fixed, the school has someone on fire watch at all hours of the day.
This story has been updated.
From burned out light bulbs and cracked concrete to compromised fire safety systems and exposed electrical wiring, Los Angeles Unified schools are waiting on 116,000 maintenance and safety problems reported since January, records show, and officials said they don't have the staff or money to fix them all.
An analysis of 165,400 repair requests filed with the school district this year showed less than a third have been addressed.
"We are very short staffed," said Roger Finstad, head of maintenance and operations at L.A. Unified. "We're operating at less than half the funding we had just about six years ago."
L.A. Unified set aside about $100 million for repairs this year, but Finstad said it would cost about $400 million every year to get all the work done.
courtesy of Karla Johnson
Spanish teacher Karla Johnson takes the classroom temperature at Franklin High School in L.A.'s Highland Park. She says she's been complaining about faulty air conditioning for 10 years.
L.A. Unified says it has air conditioning in all 32,000 school district classrooms, but 2,000 pending service calls have turned the current heat wave into a repair crisis.
On Monday, at Franklin High School in Highland Park, the conditions were sweltering.
"I have a temperature gun and the highest temperature inside the classroom was 92 degrees,” Spanish teacher Karla Johnson said.
That’s too hot for her students to learn.
“They are having problems concentrating, they’re falling asleep, they’re sweating. I can see sweat dripping down their face while I’m trying to teach them,” Johnson said, adding the air-conditioning problems aren’t new. She's been complaining about the situation for 10 years.
What's it going to take to lower classroom temperatures to a level where learning can go on?
California Attorney General Kamala Harris unveils a report on chronic absences among elementary school students.
As many as 250,000 California elementary students missed 10 percent of the past school year or roughly 18 or more days, numbers that a report released by Attorney General Kamala Harris called alarming.
Most troubling are high absences among low-income and African-American students, said Harris, speaking at a Friday news conference at the Malabar Street Elementary School in East Los Angeles.
“Students of color and high-need children are at an extreme risk," Harris said. "What we have found, and new research has unveiled, is that African-American students are far more likely to miss school than their peers.”
One in five black students are absent more than 18 days out of the school year, according to the In School + On Track report. And nearly all of the students who missed more than a month of school per year came from low-income families.