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Los Angeles schools to reopen Wednesday

Posted: 8:25 AM, Dec 16, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-16 13:25:01Z
Los Angeles schools to reopen Wednesday
Los Angeles schools to reopen Wednesday

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The nation's second-largest school district shut down Tuesday after a school board member received an emailed threat that raised fears of another attack like the deadly shooting in nearby San Bernardino.

The Los Angeles school district on Wednesday will reopen more than 1,500 school buildings that were shut for a day and searched after an emailed threat of violence.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says the FBI has concluded it wasn't a credible threat.

Garcetti says the motivation for the email remains a mystery.

 

 

The shutdown abruptly closed more than 900 public schools and 187 charter schools attended by 640,000 students across Los Angeles.

Later on Tuesday, a U.S. House Intelligence Committee member said Los Angeles school threat was believed to be a hoax.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines said every campus would be searched, and he asked for a report from the school board certifying that they are safe.
 

RELATED: Live coverage: Los Angeles schools bomb threat

Authorities in New York City said they received the same threat but quickly concluded that it was a hoax.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that he was "absolutely convinced" there was no danger to schoolchildren in his city.

"There was nothing credible about the threat. It was so outlandish," de Blasio said.

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said he thought Los Angeles officials overreacted.

The threat, de Blasio and Bratton said, came in the form of a "generic" email to many cities around the country. In New York, it was received by a superintendent early Tuesday.

Bratton called the closure a "significant overreaction."

"We cannot allow ourselves to raise levels of fear," said Bratton, who once ran the Los Angeles Police Department.

The person who wrote the note, Bratton said, claimed to be a jihadist but made errors that indicated the writer was really a prankster, including spelling the word "Allah" with a lowercase "a."

Los Angeles officials defended the move during a late morning news conference.

"It is very easy in hindsight to criticize a decision based on results the decider could never have known," Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lupita Vela, who has a daughter in the third grade and a son who is a high school senior, called the threat "absolutely terrifying" in light of the San Bernardino attack, which killed 14 people earlier this month.

She got an automated phone call informing her of the closure.

"I know the kids are anxious," she said.

 

 

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District spokeswoman Shannon Haber said the threat was sent by email to a school board member and was believed to have come from an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany.

Beck said the email was specific to all the campuses in the district and included implied threats about explosive devices, assault rifles and machine pistols.

The city schools commonly get threats, but Cortines called this one rare.

"It was not to one school, two schools or three schools," he said at a news conference. "It was many schools, not specifically identified. But there were many schools. That's the reason I took the action that I did."

The San Bernardino attack influenced the decision to close the entire district, Cortines said.

The superintendent said the district police chief informed him about the threat shortly after 5 a.m.

"He shared with me that some of the details talked about backpacks, talked about other packages," Cortines said.

Vela said she worries about talking to her kids about the threat and terrorism in general. She's concerned about her daughter feeling safe in class.

"I don't want this to be in the back of her head," she said. "Who knows what it does psychologically to kids? Is this going to cause her some kind of trauma so that she's not going to feel safe at school?"

The closure came the same day classes were canceled at San Bernardino Valley College because of a bomb threat.