Sebastian Mariscal strutted smiling onto the school bus that would take the 5-year-old from South L.A. to Brentwood for his first day of school. Then a moment later, he ran out crying into his father’s arms as the reality of the separation took hold.

So began one family’s experience as a new school year opened Monday in Los Angeles Unified — a day of anticipation, hope, joy and anxiety for students of all ages — and for those who work with them. 

L.A. Unified is among 46 county school systems to start a new school year this week; 16 others had already begun, and 20 more will go back in the coming weeks, county education officials said. Read more