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The Pearl Post

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The Pearl Post

Editorial: LAUSD neglects student, staff safety amid unprecedented storm

Kristin Intal
Students walk past trash cans as they head to their next class on Feb. 5. Due to the rain, numerous trash cans were placed in the hallway to catch water from the leaking ceilings.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Sunday in the Southern California region due to the life-threatening risks caused by flooding and dangerously high winds from the slow-atmospheric river storm. Residents were urged to stay home. This message was supported by the mayor of the city. 

“If you are not home already, please get home and stay home. Stay off the roads,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “As we anticipate this weather event continuing into the next couple of days, if you are able to work remotely, please stay home.” 

Despite this, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) chose to keep schools open on Monday as the wind had receded, even though the rain continued. Two schools, Vinedale College Preparatory Academy and Topanga Elementary Charter School, are exceptions. However, students from those schools are still expected to attend alternative locations opened for them. 

Keeping schools open despite Los Angeles setting a new rainfall record on Sunday is irresponsible and careless. LAUSD is disregarding the safety of its students, staff and parents by expecting people to leave their homes during such weather. 

In its statement, LAUSD left it up to the parents to decide whether their child should come to school and that there would be online resources posted on Schoology. Though LAUSD is not outright necessitating students go to school, online resources do not make up for the lessons they will be missing at school if they choose not to trek through the storm. This is unacceptable and hurts student choice. If they miss school so they don’t have to go through a storm, they miss out on information teachers may not post to Schoology.

Keeping schools open goes against what other school districts like Santa Barbara Unified School District, Malibu schools in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District and at least seven colleges in the California State University system are doing to ensure student safety. These schools canceled in-person classes and in the instances of the universities, they went into remote learning.

The National Weather Service states that one of the highest causes of death in flooding is walking into or near flooded waters. Only six inches is enough to knock over most adults. Over 40,000 children rely on LAUSD for transportation, often buses. These students are expected to stand near flooded roads waiting for their means of transportation. Many students at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School get to school by bus or by walking. This storm endangers or outright inhibits their ability to get to school.

“Considering the fact that 80% of our students depend on nutrition at school, we are an essential service,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said in a press conference to NBC News. “We are indispensable to the well-being of these kids.” 

These essential services were addressed when LAUSD shut down during Hurricane Hilary in August 2023. Schools closed during the hurricane even though the rainfall during that day was less intense than that of this winter storm. During the hurricane, various grab-and-go locations were open for the students who depended on LAUSD for food. 

When the hurricane struck, the school district was criticized for its decision to close the schools. However, that was due to the storm no longer becoming an active issue in Los Angeles the day school was canceled. This morning, students woke up to the sound of rain still continuously beating over their roofs, flooded streets and cold winds. LAUSD is ignoring these conditions and expects students to make the journey regardless of exposure to illness from the cold. 

No excuse can be given to fully justify the necessity of students trekking through dangerous, hostile weather to attend school this week. It is irresponsible to ask of them and it is disrespectful to families and staff to demand their presence. By keeping schools open during the state of emergency due to the atmospheric river, LAUSD doesn’t respect the lives of students, staff or parents, insulting all three as it claims to have their interests at heart. 

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About the Contributor
Kristin Intal
Kristin Intal, Visual Editor
Kristin Intal is a junior and in her first year on staff. As the Visual Editor, she plans to contribute by expanding her knowledge of both journalism and the students of the school. Outside of classes, she can be found volunteering or exploring different hobbies, such as digital art and martial arts.
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