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The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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Bomb Threat Leaves Students And Staff On Field For Hours

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During the Great Shakeout earthquake drill last Thursday, LAPD received a message via a chat line regarding a bomb on campus.

Between Period 2 and Period 5, students were on the football field until campus was declared clear by LAPD.

Principal Yavonka Hairston-Truitt said there was a threat of a bomb made of “one thousand pounds of dynamite.”

“It was not credible, but we still had to follow it because it did ping on our campus,” she said Monday. “It’s still being investigated.”

There were two searches that took place. The LAPD did an entire campus search with administrative staff, in which “they go in every closet, every classroom, every bathroom to check for actual bags,” said Hairston-Truitt.

After the search by the LAPD, there is a K9 search, where trained dogs smell for explosives. The searches took several hours as students and many staff members remained on the field.

Hairston-Truitt called parents and guardians while students were on the field, stating that the threat was being “thoroughly investigated,” according to the message. Once the lockdown was lifted, many parents checked students out of campus.

Parent Rebecca Cunningham came to the school after hearing about the threat. She was concerned about the lack of communication with parents.

“As I reflect on the day, I realize the lack of communication made for a roller coaster of emotions,” she said. “Ultimately my concern is that the handling of the situation resulted in over 2,000 students held in a fenced area for over four hours.”

She said that she understood the process LAPD needed to follow in order to keep the community safe, but “patience was waning.”

Sophomore Remy Castillo was okay being on the field, but wanted to be more aware of the situation.

“I feel like it’s not a problem coming out here, but we don’t know what’s going on,” she said while students were in lockdown on the field.

Senior Keaton Groff was happy that students used a stressful situation to bond with each other.

“We’re seeing human interaction unlike what we’ve seen before,” he said. “Pure interaction—I just think it’s beautiful.”

Scout Gornell contributed to this story.

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    Michelangelo LuceroNov 2, 2023 at 11:13 PM

    As both a senior and the school’s resident fire cadet, I did my best to keep people calm and inform teachers based off of information being relayed to me via radio chatter with PD and FD links. In the end, I’m just glad that no bomb went off and those on the field were all safe. However, I fully agree that communication was lacking, as I was the one often informing staff with the same updates given by the school long before it was made known. I only wish that Venice would strive to be much more prepared in such a situation and review their safety policies much more thoroughly.