All of Los Angeles’ public schools were closed Tuesday due to a “credible terror threat,” officials said.
A member of the LA Unified School District Board of Education reported receiving a bomb threat, police said. It was unclear when the threat was made and which school board member received it, but the situation prompted the district to close all schools effective immediately, and order students and staff to stay away from all campuses.
Police and the FBI were investigating the threat, which was described as “electronic.”
Schools Superintendent Ramon Cortines said every school in the 640,000-student district would be searched. The district, the nation’s second-largest, includes more than 900 schools and 187 public charter schools. It covers Los Angeles as well as all or parts of 31 smaller municipalities and employs nearly 60,000 people.
“I think it is important that I take this precaution based upon what has happened recently and what has happened in the past,” Cortines said.
“We received an electronic threat that mentioned the safety of our schools,” said LAUSD Police Chief Steven Zipperman.
Cortines stressed at a morning news conference that the threat was broad, and had to be taken seriously.
“It was not to one school, two schools or three schools, but to many schools,” Cortines said. “It was ‘to students at school.'”
The announcement comes less than two weeks after a terror attack in San Bernardino, some 50 miles to the east, left 14 dead and 22 wounded. On Monday afternoon, San Bernardino Valley College announced that classes Tuesday would be canceled, citing a bomb threat.
Cortines alluded to both the San Bernardino attack as well as “international” events.
“I, as superintendent, am not going take a chance with the students,” he said.
“We need families and neighbors to work together with our schools and with our employees to make sure our schools are safe throughout today,” school board president Steve Zimmer said.