The horrendous shooting at Washington Prep School last weekend after a football game is an outrage and reminder that the violence is omnipresent in the community.
There was s shooting on the Washington Prep School campus last Saturday after a football game. The victims were a 12-year old girl and a 19-year old young man, who was a former student of Washington Prep who apparently had returned to his alma mater to enjoy the football game. It appeared that they were on their way to their rides because they were in the parking lot when they were shot–multiple times. However, the wounds reportedly were not life threatening and they were expected to live. They were taken to Harbor-UCLA Hospital and were in stable condition.
Los Angeles Unified School District board member, Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte was outraged about the incident. She issued a statement saying, "The shooting on the campus of the Washington High School Complex is a tragic situation. The school sits in the middle of a community plagued by violence perpetrated by gang members. Despite all of the studies that have been done to address violence in the community and precautions taken by the faculty and administration to keep the students safe, the problems within the community spill onto the campus."
Echoing her sentiments the sheriff's department said that the shooting was gang-related and four people had been arrested. In addition, since June there have been eight deaths by violence in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, the area patrolled exclusively by the sheriff's department.
Dr. George Mc Kenna, a respected educator, a former school superintendent was at one time the principal of Washington Prep. His work at that school was legendary, so much so, that a movie was made about his tenure at the school, and when he left, it was the envy of the academic community, and a model of education and excellence. About the recent shooting, Mc Kenna said, "It is very disappointing the level of violence is still able to penetrate onto a school campus that is in the neighborhood. I don't know if it involved students against students; I don't know who the perpetrators were or why it started. But it just shows the continuing need for teaching our children non-violence."
LaMotte added, "While we will continue to make every effort to keep students safe while on campus, we encourage parents and guardians, to check personal possessions and living spaces of their children, from time to time to make certain they do not have anything they should not have in their rooms of backpacks. We must stop the violence and the senseless maiming of our students."
McKenna does not think that the school has suffered a relapse of its once violent past. He continued, "I don't think that the school has gone back; I don't think there has been any similar incidents in many, many years to my knowledge. I think every year is a challenge for every school to sustain and maintain it. But I do believe the challenge is even greater now than when I left 20 years ago."
During the late sixties and through the seventies, the school had experienced a tumultuous period of unrest and McKenna turned it into a campus of high-achieving, college-bound, high-school graduates.