It started with a tragic and preventable accident at Gardena High School, where a student brought a loaded gun to school in his backpack that discharged when the bag was dropped, shooting two students with one bullet. Then yesterday, outside of El Camino Real High School, a would-be car thief shot a LAUSD police officer in the chest, touching off a massive dragnet and 9,000 students being locked down in place while the search for the gunman was underway—he still has not been found. A few hours after that, outside of Bell High School, a 16-year-old student leaving school was shot in a drive-by attack that left the victim in serious condition. It’s a confluence of events that has left students, parents and teachers on edge. While LAUSD campuses have seen their fair share of violence over the years, as a whole the schools have been relatively safe and secure. The shooting at Gardena High, in particular, has renewed the call for more extensive safety measures, including the expanded use of metal detectors and more aggressive random searches. While these incidents are scary, are they at all indicative about a breakdown of safety at LAUSD schools?
John Deasy, incoming Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District