Why no outrage for LAPD and LAUSD MS-13 secrecy and murder “cover-up”



By Michael Hernandez 

I am outraged by the MS-13 (the violent street gang with El Salvador roots) secrecy and murder “cover-up” by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District that resulted in 21 months of silence in the killing of Brayan Andino, a 16-year-old Panorama High School student who was lured to Lake Balboa Park by classmates and that have left at least 10 people dead.

While I applaud the Los Angeles Times investigative reporters, I do not accept the explanation given by police and school officials that “there was no need to alert teachers, parents and students because other students were never in danger (since) the gang had little presence on campus and no acts of gang violence affected the campus itself.”

In the July 24 L.A. Times story:  “Teachers, students and parents said they received little or no information from either police or schools officials about the gang’s alleged operations on campus until last week, when prosecutors announced murder and racketeering charges against nearly two dozen adults who are alleged to be gang members.

According to the LA Times reporting, at least two teachers (Lorena Medina and Cynthia North—the teachers union chapter chair) were made aware by Panorama Principal Rafael Gaeta of a “list of names of students who had been detained by police” and when another Panorama High School teacher Vincent Nicoletti (who has since retired) called a LAPD Detective on May 29, 2018 “to find out what was going on” due to concern that the gag order by LAUSD and LAPD “could endanger students” school officials suspended him the next day for “interfering with the investigation.”

My questions:  “When does secrecy become more important than transparency that allows for a proper funeral—which never occurred and the appropriate grief counseling that never happened at the Panorama High campus.   Was this cover-up for 21 months really required to apprehend all suspects?  Or was the intent to save face?  Was the intent to avoid reporting on MS-13 activity in Los Angeles?  These are questions that need to be answered!

–Michael Hernandez (Retired Panorama City middle school teacher)

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

Editor’s Note:   Citizens Journal readers can see the Los Angeles Times articles at:



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2 Responses to Why no outrage for LAPD and LAUSD MS-13 secrecy and murder “cover-up”

  1. William Hicks August 7, 2019 at 10:26 am

    As a former project manager for the Los Angeles Unified School District, I can attest to the active existence of MS-13, in or near, many schools.

    In the effort of my Paint Department to remove MS-13 graffitti, they were threatened to stop removing the graffitti or MS-13 would return with guns to stop them.

    This happened over 15 years ago. How much more is MS-13 entrenched in Los Angeles since then?

  2. Anna Ray-Latham August 2, 2019 at 11:28 am

    In my opinion, there is no situation that should require students to continue to attend the school without knowing the dangers. Or at least the parents being able to make that decision. Students and teachers were in a dangerous situation and yet the teachers were punished (aka fired) if they asked any reasonable question.


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