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10 AM Tuesday: Shooting Scare

Samantha Hoffman, Photo Editor

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Over half of the student population of Grover Cleveland Charter High School did not attend school on September 18, 2018, nearly all out of fear of a school shooting.

According to Assistant Principal Damian Goodman, on Friday September 14, 2018, a student reported a threat found in a girl’s bathroom to staff. The note detailed frustration about bullying and a subsequent threat against campus for a shooting at 10 am that following Tuesday, September 18, 2018.

After being reported, an investigation immediately was underway, explains Goodman. Within an hour of the report, the Principal, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and Los Angeles Police Department were made aware of the incident and began following protocol to address it. From that point on, the school administration were encouraged by the District to let the police take the lead on the investigation.

That weekend, pictures of the threat were posted and shared via messaging services online, “informing” students of what the threat detailed. By Monday morning, most students were nervous and confused meanwhile administration were told that the best plan of action was to increase security as the threat was deemed not credible.

Students and parents were updated throughout Monday through messages sent by the administration as well as a posted message on the Cleveland website, both explaining there had been a threat to campus but also that it was being handled by administration and police who would be supplying extra units on campus throughout the week.

Goodman explained Monday morning not only brought more units but also “copycats” as in people who decided to copy the threat and what had been written, almost as a joke. He explained that each new drawing or piece of writing was viewed as its own separate incident, investigated separate from one another.

With the police, the lack of information, and general chaos relative to what was true, students were, needless to say, confused and concerned.

Specifically, Naomi Fernandez, was especially on edge Monday morning, as she hugged her friend Julianna Ganan close before she went to the college office one class period. Fernandez explained that Monday she felt incredibly anxious saying,“It made me panic that anyone was leaving the class.”

The fear was palpable and caused incredible concern. Students messaged one another via social media, messaging services, and talked in person about whether they were attending school the next day, Tuesday.

Conversations were had and general panic and fear ruled over students. So much so that the next day, according to Goodman, at least half, if not more of the roughly 3,200  students, did not attend school. No shots rang out at 10 am or any other time on Tuesday.

Being the largest school in LAUSD, this incident sparked quite a conversation for both students, parents, and administration. Mainly, Goodman explains, people are discussing what should be done to keep students safer at schools, such as using only one entrance or metal detectors at entrances.

 

Students’ opinions differed about the school’s handling of the incident. Many expressed uncertainty and confusion According to Fernandez, “…The lack of information and lack of communication [from the school] really put kids on edge.” Looking at the lack of information given out to students as well as the uncertainty of how the event was being taken care of, it’s no wonder many felt unsafe enough to school.
In response to this, Goodman notes that the information allowed by the District to be released to students, parents, and anyone else is incredibly limited, especially with a circumstance such as this. He explains, “Requests are filtered [through a series of groups] until [administration] is only given 2 or 3 things” they are allowed to say, limiting their options.

Nonetheless, the political push that has been observed at Cleveland for years continues strong. Both student and administrator, Fernandez and Goodman, agree that the biggest focus people should have, is becoming politically active, getting their voices heard, and doing so by pre-registering or registering to vote.

The fear felt on Tuesday and throughout the week ahead and after is caused by the reality students face today. In the wake of mass shootings such as Las Vegas last year or Stoneman Douglas in February, the fear of a shooting and gun violence is very prevalent in student’s lives today.

However, this is students’ reality. Students can never be certain about their safety in school and thus it is incredibly important to fight for what they believe. It’s easy to have conversations about incidents that seem as far away as Florida or Nevada but, naturally, it affects people when something like this happens so close to home.

This is why students are being encouraged now, more than ever to become politically active and share their voice. We cannot be certain about today or even tomorrow but we can be certain about what we believe, and in that case we should use our voices and power to fight for it.

 

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The Student News Site of Cleveland Charter High School
10 AM Tuesday: Shooting Scare