Thursday, January 20, 2011

When the News hits Home- Police Officer Shot in Woodland Hills, California

Yesterday I got a call saying that there was a shooting at my daughter's school and to turn on the T.V. to watch the news.  It turns out that the shooting was outside the local high school, a man shot a police officer when he was trying to steal a car.   My daughter's school is just a few blocks away and it was the command center for the Police and S.W.A.T. teams.  I wasn't worried about Natalie because she was sick that day, but I was concerned for her friends.  It was surreal because I could see what was happening on the news and hear the police sirens and helicopters outside our window.  We are about 4 miles from the high school.

S.W.A.T. Team outside of El Camino Real High School

Thanks God, the police officer was wearing a bullet proof vest.  Officer Jeff Stenroos  was wearing a bullet proof vest when he got shot in the chest.  He was shot because he was trying to stop a car theft. 

 Officer Stenroos would not be alive today if he hadn't been wearing one of these puppies.

Nine schools in our area, including the elementary school down the street, were locked down.  A lock-down is the schools procedure when there is a shooting or other major catastrophe, to keep the students safe.  The children were kept in their classrooms since 11:45AM till as late as 9PM, at the Middle School. There is no back up plan to feed these children.  There are over 2000 students at the Middle School and over 3,000 at the High School.  There were 6 Elementary schools and one alternative school also involved.  Almost all the Elementary schools got out the regular time, around 2:30PM.

Around 4PM I heard that they were letting the Middle School Students out.  I told Natalie's friend, Juliana, to walk to our place.  Well she calls back and says that they can't leave on their own.  Natalie and I drive over there and get in line.  When we get to the area we find out they are letting each student out one at a time and it was taking 5-10 minutes per child.  Multiply this by 2000 children and we have a mess.  We find out that we are suppose to be on her "Emergency Card" and that we weren't.  In the meantime we had passed a police blockade and waited in line for a few hours.  It was so scary and frustrating.  

What's ironic is that we bought our house because it was in a good school area.  Our house is the small house in the nice neighborhood.  The homes close to the High School and the ones up on the hills are much nicer than ours.  We don't care, they make our small house worth more.  When I was student teaching in South Central in the mid 90's, I was almost in a lock down but I had called in sick that day.  Both Natalie and I were saved from a lock-down.  Whew!  I felt so bad for the teachers, students, administrators and anyone stuck at the schools.  All I know is that these schools don't have to deal with shootings and other crimes like the school I worked for in South Central.  Unfortunately the local schools aren't prepared for this type of situation.  I know one thing, they need to have a emergency pack fund raiser with food, water and other resources to handle a situation like this again.

One major problem is that schools in Southern California are all outdoors.  They aren't in-closed like schools back east.  When it's a rainy day the students have to eat at a covered patio and then their teacher has to watch them in the classroom.  I hated that when I was teaching because I needed some quiet time away from the kids.  Everyone has to walk outside to find restrooms and other facilities.  If there is a lock-down they can't go to the bathroom or anything.  I wonder how they realistically handled the day.  It's unrealistic to tell anyone that they can't go potty for 6-12 hours.  Like I said, before, what a mess!

Typical School Outdoor Walkway
Today I drove by a house that is across the street from the place where the shooting happened.  I knew that the Realtor and the person selling the house were groaning.  No one wants to have to sell a house near a crime scene of any kind.  

Today it was the quiet after the storm.  Life seemed to go back to normal.  Now instead of helecopters and police sirens I hear cars going by and birds singing.  Bliss!!!  That has been one of the best things of my area, I'm part of the city but have the quietness of the suburbs.  I used to live under the L.A.X. north flight path 14 years ago, so a few cars picking up kids at the elementary school is nothing in comparison.

I lived to the right of this photo.  Nosy!!!
View from my Porch.  Ignore dying Plants.

My quiet backyard.

Has anything wierd and out of the ordinary hit your Home Town?


Hello! I'm Kate. said...

wow!!! that is scary! I'm so glad that your daughter was okay & that the rest of the students were too!

Lori said...

What a scary thing to have happened to so many students and their families. I'm glad no one was hurt, including the police officer.