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L.A. student took a bullet in the jaw, but the district didn't disclose the shooting for 2 weeks

Howard Blume, Sonali Kohli And Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Afterward, board member Scott Schmerelson said in an interview that he'd already been aware of the shooting, but only because he reads daily incident reports from across the nation's second-largest school system. He remembered thinking that it was odd that a student would be shot and it would not be immediately obvious to the student and those around him.

The last time a student was injured by a bullet at a Los Angeles middle school was Feb. 1, 2018, after the apparently accidental discharge of a gun in a student's backpack. Law enforcement descended en masse upon Salvador Castro Middle School west of downtown. The bullet injured two students and a teacher. Police locked down the entire school and then evacuated students section by section as media and police helicopters hovered overhead.

Gamez raised the issue of the Hollenbeck shooting to argue for more funding for school police officers on campus. He said each middle school used to have an assigned officer. Now an officer will patrol the area around two or three middle schools, he said.

There also are activists, including students and civil rights organizations, who are calling for fewer officers and less policing on campus. Their faction gained ground last year when the school board agreed to stop the random searches of students on some campuses. The activists called the practice dehumanizing and ineffective.

Defenders of the searches, including McKenna and Gamez, said the practice had deterrent value, making students less likely to bring a weapon on campus.


It's not clear that the Aug. 27 incident would offer fodder for either side.

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