Fresh Angeles: Why I Took My Child To School On The Day Of The #LAUSD Closure

Why I Took My Child To School On The Day Of The #LAUSD Closure

Why did I send my child to a Los Angeles school on the day when all of the schools around hers were closed? I'm not really sure...

As a parent of a child who attends a private school in Los Angeles, it was very startling to wake up this morning to the news of a possible “credible threat of violence” to our local schools.

L.A. Unified School officials reported that a threat came in electronic form early this morning and was made to numerous, but unspecified campuses throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District. This prompted the Superintendent Ramon Cortines to make the quick decision to close all of the schools in the entire District. Los Angeles is the second largest school district in the United States, with over 900 campuses and 187 public charter schools, including almost 700,000 students in grades K-12. 


After hearing that news at around 7:15am that is also the time that my phone starting erupting with texts from friends at LAUSD Schools, concerned parents from our own school, and family members alerting me to the situation.

I wasn’t sure if our school was open or not, so by 7:30am I was dialing the front office to ask. The call was answered right away and I found out that our school was indeed open today and the children were encouraged to attend. They also said that due to the closing of LA’s public schools they understand if parents want to keep their kids home. Every family must make that decision for themselves.

My initial reaction was to keep our daughter home from school, because one day of school missed is not worth the risk. She's only in second grade and doesn't have finals or anything. Even though we are a private school in North Hollywood, we are located in Los Angeles County and just blocks away from several LAUSD schools. So I thought why would the threat be much less for us? School officials in the neighboring areas of Burbank, Glendale, Simi Valley, Beverly Hills, Long Beach, Torrance, El Segundo, remained open like most of the private schools in Los Angeles.

This is a tough time for Southern Californians, we've been through a lot in the past few weeks. We are still in mourning from the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino that killed 14 people and wounded 22. And just yesterday was the third anniversary from the horror at Sandy Hook.We are in the middle of a real crisis where simple things like going to the movies or even going to school can be a dangerous place. Is this the new normal? And if it is, how can we insure the safety of our children?

Soon after my phone conversation I texted with some of the moms at our school to get their take on it and to see if they were still taking their children to school. Some stating that they had no back up plan for childcare, others that if the school was open their kids would be there. On the other side, I knew there would be plenty of parents in our class that would keep their children home as well.

My husband was already on his way to work but he was fine with me taking her to school. He says he trusts our school, our staff and the fact that the threats weren't directed to any school outside the district gave him confidence enough to give the OK. But I wasn't so sure. Both my mother and my mother-in-law said that they would keep my daughter at home if it were up to them, just to be safe. But all family members agreed to support the choice I made either way. I felt so conflicted.

I currently work at home, so it’s not like I had a job to report to. The one thing I know is that I would never forgive myself if something were to happen on a day where I could’ve just as easily kept her home with me. But I also don’t want to be that parent, the over protective, helicopter mom who parents out of fear, worst case scenarios, and listens to the what ifs. That can be a slippery slope and I have enough problems with panic attacks and anxiety as it is.

The time was approaching 8am and if I was going to take my daughter to school, I would have to do it soon.

As I checked my email, a message addressing the morning’s situation came through from our head of school that said,
“Dear Parents,
Please know that we are aware of the threats to LAUSD and take very seriously the safety of our campus and students. After careful consideration, we will continue to have school today. We now have extra security in place, and the school gates will remain closed. We have also requested that LAPD send a car to patrol the area around our campus. We will keep you apprised of any changes throughout the day. However, we completely understand if you choose to keep your children home today. Students who are not on campus today will not be considered absent.”

After worrying about it all morning, I finally decided to take her to school. I'm not really sure why because I was still just as nervous as before, but I pushed through it and tried to ignore the uncertainty rising up in my throat. We were late at this point, but I knew under the circumstances it would be understood. She grabbed her backpack, hopped in the car, and we headed to North Hollywood. Parents were still bringing their kids to the Burbank Elementary School that we live across the street from, which was comforting. (Burbank schools were open too.)

I was very uneasy on the 10 minute drive, but I didn’t let on to her. I did not feel that it was appropriate to talk to my child about the morning’s possible threat to the safety of almost 1,000 schools. Her school was open so I was going to try and make this as "normal" of a day as possible. If I would’ve told my daughter, she would have been scared and wanted to stay home. (Which I totally get.) She is eight and very smart, but often her fear can get in the way of rational thinking… She’s definitely her mother’s daughter.

I worried about her on and off all day, but I did not let my fear win. I picked her up from school at 3pm like normal, but I did feel even more grateful to get her in my car, safe and sound. I asked her how her day was and if anyone was talking about a lot of the schools in the area being closed today and she said, no. But she did say that there were only like 8 kids in class and that was nice because it was much more quiet then usual. So I dropped it at that and haven't mentioned it since.

Some news stories are now saying that the threat may have been a hoax after all. All schools will be back in session tomorrow but no matter what, I think that the Superintendent made the right call to ere on the side of caution. This man sees over half a million children and he has to think of their safety first. In hind sight, it will be easy for people to criticize him and say that he may have been too hasty, but he did what he felt was right, he did not take a chance, and for that I thank him and support him 110%.

What would you do? Would you have taken your child to school like I did? What did you do? If you are at a local school that was open, did you keep your child home or take them and why? Please leave a comment below I would love to know how other parents handled today.

For those who may still have questions about the LAUSD closure , you can call the hotline at (213) 241-2064 or visit lausd.net.

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