Los Angeles — Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) suspended classes today after receiving an electronic bomb threat on Tuesday morning, following the declarations of district police Chief Steve Zipperman. The officer stated that the threat is currently being analyzed.
According to Ramon Cortines, the district’s superintendent, many schools also received threats, which was aimed at students inside the institutions and referred to backpacks and the like. Shannon Haber, school district representative, said the threat was sent via e-mail to a member of the school board.
On the other hand, the New York police seems to think the threat is nothing but a hoax. According to New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, another superintendent in his city had gotten an almost identical e-mail, which made him think the threat sent to Los Angeles lacks credibility.
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York, described the e-mail’s writing as generic, and called for people to not overreact, arguing that closing down the school system would be a ‘huge’ disservice to the nation.
Cortines took a different stance. He justified the decision to shut down the school saying that the threat hadn’t been to only one institution, but several. He pointed out that although his district is used to receiving threats, recent incidents such as the shooting in San Bernardino and the attacks in Paris are enough reason to be concerned about security and take precautions.
The superintendent stated that he wouldn’t “take the chance” with the lives of students, and Los Angeles authorities seem to share his opinion.
“We are in the process of validating and vetting to determine what if any validity it has. As you can imagine, we take all threats seriously. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our kids,” said Jorge Villegas, assistant chief from the Los Angeles police.
According to Cortines, the authorities are searching all the schools in the district before the day ends and said that classes wouldn’t resume until they knew it was safe.
The origin of the threatening message itself is unsure, although authorities believe it might have come from Germany. They doubt it was sent by jihadists due to the odd spelling of Allah, which means ‘God’ in Arabic.
The announcement of the school shut down came about 7:15 a.m, a time at which some students and staff members were already at the institutions or heading to the place. Those people were sent home when the news spread and, because of that, the public transit system in Los Angeles is offering a free ride for today to those students who carry their ID.