The principal "followed procedure. She made a decision to follow the handbook. She just misread it."
That was Tim Brown, director of operations for the Inglewood, CA, Unified School District, explaining why it was that some students at Worthington Elementary School had to use buckets behind the teachers' desks instead of the restrooms.
The "procedure" the principal followed was the one for nuclear attack. "There wasn't any nuclear attack!" you say? Well, you're right. Principal Angie Marquez locked the school down because middle school and high school students were walking out of their schools protesting new immigration legislation.
School board member Johnny J. Young defended the principal's decision, though he said that having children go to the bathroom in buckets was an extreme, one-time situation.
Young said that "a large percentage" of parents were satisfied with the principal's decision and expressed those sentiments during the school board meeting.
"They'd prefer to have students safe than stand in harm's way," he said.
Worthington Elementary School is seven blocks from Morningside High School, where fewer than 100 teenagers participated in the walkout. Administrators said they feared that if elementary school children were outside or in the open park behind the school, they would be swept into the crowd of protesters.
But angry parents and activists rejected that explanation, pointing out that schools with adjoining campuses to Morningside High, such as Clyde Woodworth Elementary and Monroe Middle School, did not implement strict daylong lockdowns. Woodworth elementary was under lockdown for less than an hour, and Monroe initiated a lower-level "alert lockdown," in which staff kept watch over school gates.
"Stand in harm's way?" Wouldn't a simple announcement over the PA to keep the children inside have sufficed?