School Disassembly

LAUSD fire inspectors invaded Pali’s campus over the summer.

Caleb Crain, Editor-in-Chief

Over the summer, when teachers and students were leaving for vacation, a different work cycle was just beginning.  

Facilities director Dave Riccardi said that he was notified by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) about an upcoming inspection for fire hazards and other dangers just as the 2015-16 school year was wrapping up. Along with the notification, his office received a list of things to remove from Pali classrooms, including microwaves, refrigerators, chemicals and bookcases that were not strapped down.  

This communication sent Riccardi’s team scrambling to enforce these new regulations before LAUSD inspectors were scheduled to descend on the school on Aug. 4.  

Riccardi and his staff worked weekends and holidays in an attempt to scour and rid Pali’s classrooms of contraband items before the inspection date. By the time the inspectors arrived on Aug. 3, a day before planned, the clutter had been removed.  

After the inspection was over, Riccardi and his staff could direct their attention to a long list of chores normally handled during the summer, when the school is lightly used. But for some teachers, including Mr. Kevin Kung, a chemistry teacher in room F204, the inspection resulted in hours of additional work putting classrooms back together again.

Over the summer, Mr. Kung said he received an email from Mr. Riccardi stating that certain objects would be removed from the walls and ceiling of his classroom, including the posters describing elements on the periodic table ranging from Lithium to Americium.  

Mr. Kung said he entered his classroom right before school was to begin, only to find his posters laying on the ground or stuffed into bags.  

“I’m still finding stuff,” Mr. Kung said.  

Another casualty of Mr. Kung’s room was one of the most basic features of a classroom: the desks. Instead of taking notes at regular wooden desks like many other classes at Pali, Mr. Kung’s students sat down to plastic folding tables and folding chairs.