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Teacher, students shared food, kept spirits high inside El Camino Real High classroom

January 19, 2011 |  6:58 pm

The time passed slowly in Natasha Zwick's English class at El Camino Real High School.

Zwick and 36 students were among several thousand students, teachers and administrators locked down on the campus after a Los Angeles school police officer was shot nearby Wednesday morning.

To pass the time, they set up a television and watched newscasts of the shooting. Soon, they became hungry and shared a sandwich, a bag of pretzels and a few other snacks that students had brought.

"The bathroom was the worst issue because we weren't allowed out," Zwick told The Times.

She said they set up a makeshift bathroom with a trash can. It wasn't ideal, she said, but no one complained.

"The kids were amazing," Zwick said.  "Nobody complained, nobody whined, nobody cried."

Throughout the ordeal, administrators kept teachers and students informed with updates on the school's public address system. Finally, about 5:15 p.m., they heard the words they had been waiting for: They could leave the campus.

"Everybody was hugging," Zwick said, "and talking about what they were going to eat."


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-- Robert J. Lopez