What Makes The LA Schools Bomb Threat Different?

In Los Angeles, home to the second-largest school district in the nation, schools were closed Tuesday, following a bomb threat described by authorities as "credible." Ramon C. Cortines, the LAUSD superintendent, said that this was different from other recent threats — several of which have been made in the last two weeks alone, he noted. "This is a rare threat," Cortines told reporters. The threat targeted many schools, none of which were named explicitly. It was made to "students at schools," was received electronically, and referenced backpacks and other packages. "I am not taking the chance of bringing children any place, into any part of the building, until I know it is safe," Cortines said.

Cortines also said that he spoke with board president Steve Zimmer before deciding on the closure. Zimmer also spoke with reporters at the press conference. "It was not 1 school, 2 schools, 3 schools — it was to many schools, not specifically identified," he said. The Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official said that the threat was emailed to a board member late Monday, and appeared to be sent from overseas.

All 640,000 of the district's students, as well as non-essential employees, were told to stay home. Kids who were already on buses en route to school were taken back home. Parents who had dropped off their children were asked to come back and pick them up. The closings affected both the 900 public schools in the district and 187 charter schools.

Cortines said that he couldn't take a chance, especially given recent events, like the shooting in San Bernardino which left 14 people dead.

I think it is important that I take the precaution based on what has happened recently and what has happened in the past. Before the day is over, I want every school searched to make sure that it is safe for children and safe for staff to be there on Wednesday.

All schools in the district will be searched systematically, Cortines said. He said school workers have been told to walk the schools, but not to touch anything. Anything out of line should be reported to the authorities. LAUSD police Chief Steven Zipperman said that the threat is still being evaluated. The FBI and LAPD are also investigating the threat's "validity."