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April 20 has a lot of strange meanings. Urban legend says that April 20 is Marijuana Smokeout day. 4:20 is the time—morning and afternoon—understood by many marijuana smokers as the signal to light up and get high.

It’s also the anniversary date of the Columbine shootings, and the date of Hitler’s birthday. So at school, there was that hippie-peace-out-dude attitude combined with the fear of a second Columbine.

Still for some, it was Senior Ditch Day. Others were simply too scared to come to school. Rumors flew back and forth. Here’s what some L.A. Youth staff members had to say about what happened at their schools that day:

"People talked about going out and smoking pot off campus, since it’s National Marijuana Day. It’s not really called that, but I’m just being funny. Actually, it was Earth Day at my school, which is kind of funny because earth and marijuana kind of go together. I heard that it was the anniversary of Columbine on the news a few days before, but no one at school even talked about it."
—Name withheld, Hamilton HS

"Nothing different happened in school. Except that people were handing out invitations, kind of throwing them around, to go to different big parties. Lots of people from many different schools were going to go. It’s almost like a rave. So I got a few invitations to parties. But at the time, I didn’t know they were pretty much pot parties. See, 4/20 is a day for all the pot-heads to smoke pot.

When someone asked me if I was going to go, I said, ‘Maybe, because there are never big parties with my school.’ But my friend told me that the cops already knew about it and would arrest people who went there. So I ended up not going. But it was a really big deal to everyone. They were running around and yelling, ‘4/20. Today is 4/20.’ It was so dumb. So dumb."
—Jennifer Gottesfeld, 15, Beverly Hills HS

"One-half of the school was absent because of a bomb threat. I went anyway, because I didn’t believe the bomb threat and plus I had a Spanish test. There was some tagging or something in the bathroom that I heard about. It was actually threats to bomb the school and stuff. Everyone was talking about it. Some people were scared, because it’s the two-year anniversary of the Columbine killings. Others used it as an excuse to be absent. I think the whole thing is stupid, stupid, stupid."
—Howard Hwang, 14, Marshall HS

"I didn’t go to school, because it was Senior Ditch Day. I did go there around 2 p.m. to pick up my report card. When I got there, all these people were telling me that the KKK had marched through Hamilton HS and Fairfax HS and were protesting with police protection. Some people said they were shooting up Hamilton HS. And they were on their way to Inglewood. People at school had put up signs saying that the KKK had already come there. I thought it was BS right off the bat, because I had watched the news that day and didn’t hear anything about it. The thing that bothers me the most is that a lot of people at school believed this. I didn’t make any connection between this alleged KKK stuff and 4/20. Some people who ditched were talking about smoking pot on 4/20."
—Matt Jones, 17, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies