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L.A. AIMS TO QUELL FEARS IN WAKE OF BOY'S SLAYING

After a 16-year-old boy was killed outside Hollywood High School this week, city schools Superintendent Sid Thompson sought to assure parents that school campuses remain a safe haven for their children.

Joined at a news conference this week by Los Angeles police, Thompson cited school statistics that show a drop in assaults and weapons possession since tough expulsion policies and random metal detector checks were imposed.The traditional school year opens Monday for the majority of the Los Angeles Unified School District's more than 630,000 students.

"I still unequivocally believe your kids are safer in school than they are on the street or in any mall," Thompson said.

"We would like to believe that all of them do the right thing at the right time," he said. "We preach to them about weapons. But out of that number of young people you're going to have those who don't understand the message."

Police said they were pursuing several leads in the fatal shooting Wednesday of Rolando Ruiz outside Hollywood High School, but had made no arrests in the case.

Investigators suspect that Ruiz, 17, was a member of a gang and he probably was killed by members of a rival group, said Los Angeles police Detective Mike DePasquale.

"We've been working this non-stop," he said.

Police impounded a blue Chevrolet Camaro that Ruiz's attackers left in traffic as they ran from the scene near the school, which was in session because it is on a year-round schedule.

In light of the Hollywood High shooting, school officials throughout the district have been instructed to keep a closer eye on what's happening in and around their schools.