Hundreds Of LA Schools Are Abruptly Closed After An Unspecified Threat — REPORT
According to school officials and law enforcement, the Los Angeles Unified School District has closed all schools because of a "credible terror threat." The LAPD confirmed to news outlets that all schools have been closed after receiving an unspecified electronic threat that could be credible. According to KABC Eyewitness New, LAUSD bus drivers have returned to their depots. More details are expected to emerge when officials hold a news conference later Tuesday morning. The LAUSD is the second-largest school system in the country, with more than 1,100 schools and nearly 660,000 students that range from kindergarten to 12th grade. Update: According to the Associated Press, a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence said Tuesday afternoon that the threat to LAUSD is likely a hoax. A similar threat was received in New York City that claimed every school in the district would be attacked. Evidence indicates that both threats were hoax attempts to disrupt large city school systems, the AP reported.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a bomb threat was emailed to an LAUSD board member, prompting the school system to shut down all of its schools immediately. The Los Angeles Police Department told the paper that all students and staff are being advised to stay away from campuses while the LAPD and the FBI investigate the situation. It is unclear at this time whether the threat is terrorist-related.
After the threat, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines gave a preliminary press conference on Tuesday morning, saying because of recent events in San Bernardino and Paris, he's decided to be as cautious as possible; he told reporters:
I am not going to take the chance with the life of a student.
Cortines said that the LAUSD will give a full statement before the end of the day.
LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer, who said the threat was specific to the LAUSD, also said:
We are taking this action in an abundance of caution to make sure that every child in L.A. Unified School District, every employee is absolutely safe.
The LAUSD has been tweeting updates, reassuring that all students are safe and announcing that every school is being searched by authorities. They have also been tweeting instructions for students who have arrived at the school before the alert was announced, saying they'll be with staff until parents can be contacted. The school district also instructed parents to bring proper IDs when picking up their kids.
About two weeks ago, two shooters opened fire on the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and injuring 22 others. Law enforcement officials later found that the two suspects, a married couple, had been radicalized and were motivated by Islamic extremism, though the FBI has not linked them to ISIS or any other established terror organization. Last month, multiple suspects launched a series of attacks throughout Paris, killing 130 people and injuring hundreds more in what was one of the worst terrorist attacks in European history. ISIS has claimed responsibility for those attacks.
The organization has also threatened the U.S. with similar attacks, which has prompted cities to take extra precautions, especially in larger cities like New York and Los Angeles.