Jewish Journal

Shooting in Woodland Hills Outside of My Old High School

by Mihal Levy

January 19, 2011 | 7:12 pm

...and no, I did not graduate in 1969. (I wasn't even born yet.)

A shooting in Woodland Hills?  Couldn’t be?  Shootings don’t happen there.  Don’t they only happen in bad neighborhoods like Brentwood, last time I checked?  I was shocked to find out that there was a shooting in Woodland Hills, and of all places, my high school.  Well, even though it has been a while, I can still call it MY highschool, can’t I?

In all the years I lived in Woodland Hills growing up, O.K., West Hills, on the outskirts of Woodland Hills, or as others called it, the other side of Victory (as in the street, not triumph), the most traumatic thing that ever happened in that neighborhood was that the McDonald’s playground was stolen by some hoodlums, also known as my senior class, and other than that, maybe the closing down of our favorite yogurt place Penguins in Platt Village, back when frozen yogurt was cool.  (Oh, wait, it is cool again.  Only now you get to fill up the containers and top them yourself.  I missed out.)  So, you can imagine how shocked I was to hear about a shooting there.  ( I have since graduated and moved far away – another part of Los Angeles county.)

A few years after I graduated, they installed metal detectors. Even that was cause for concern.  “Was my old high school becoming a satellite site for LAX passengers now?”  I thought.  In fact, it was to prevent children from bringing guns to school.  Guns?  The only things the students in my class ever brought to school were the brand new cars their father’s bought them or their frequent flyer cards to the local tanning salon.  Apparently the suspect of this afternoon’s shooting was not after the students’ frequent flyer cards, but the cars in the lot.  At least it wasn’t a fellow ECRian.  (El Camino Real –ian).  After fifteen years of winning academic decathlons, you know they had better things in mind than carrying guns to school, more like sharpened #2 pencils, instead.

All jokes aside, school police no longer wander the halls in hopes of catching teens with cigarettes.  It’s now drugs and weapons, what a shame.  I still have to blame it on lack of after school programs, uninvolved parents and early curfews (because caging in children after a certain hour should tame them, instead of making them want to purposely ransack neighborhoods or invest in weapons, right?  Wrong!), but that is a whole other Oprah.

Perhaps LAUSD needs to think about what exactly is making teens tick, why are parents uninvolved and why would a suspect decide to steal a car from a high school parking lot in broad daylight when there are plenty of other choices.  (Didn’t he know that chances are most of the cars probably belonged to the teachers.  And last time I checked, teachers weren’t paid well enough to afford sassy wheels.)

So to my fellow Conquistadores (ECR’s mascot – a Conquistador, of course), I’m glad all of you are safe and were able to tweet information from inside the lockdown on your smart phones safely.  (Times have really changed.)  Stay safe, keep winning the academic decathlon, keep arriving early to school so that you can park your new cars on the upper lot where everyone can see them,  and respect the authorities that keep you safe.  Remember it is not so bad that there is an early curfew in Platt Village, there is not that much to do there anyway.  Before you know it, you will be giving yourself an early curfew and in bed with your own children wishing you actually wanted to stay out late.  I’m just sayin’… 


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Mihal Levy used to collect degrees as a hobby.  After receiving her B.S. and M.S. degrees, she worked as a psychotherapist and research scientist before continuing her hobby of...

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