(LOS ANGELES) — All schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District were shut down Tuesday following an unspecified threat, the Los Angeles Police Department said, as New York City deemed a similar threat not credible.
The Los Angeles closings are out of “an abundance of caution,” the LAPD said. A senior law enforcement official told ABC News the threat was not serious and the LAPD is not on tactical alert. The threat is not connected to any previous threats or the San Bernardino investigation, the official said.
An electronic threat was received in Los Angeles Tuesday morning mentioning the safety of the schools, officials said at a news conference Tuesday.
The threat was emailed from outside the country and named a number of specific schools, according to two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation. The last IP address linked to the email threat came from Frankfurt, Germany, according to an LAUSD official.
The threat involved many schools, L.A. Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines said on Tuesday. The threat “was to students at school” and mentioned backpacks and “other packages,” Cortines said. The threat wasn’t made to school buses, he added.
Meanwhile, a similar threat was reported in New York City. The New York Police Department tweeted on Tuesday that there “was a specific but NON credible threat made to NYC schools this morning,” but nothing was closed.
A police source told ABC News the threat to New York City schools was received via email around 5 a.m. and was similar in nature to the threat made to Los Angeles schools. The police in New York deemed it not a credible threat, the source said.
New York’s mayor and police commissioner said on Tuesday that the wording of the threat suggested it was a hoax and the intelligence division of the NYPD decided there was nothing credible. Schools in New York, unlike Los Angeles, are under mayoral control.
The email originated overseas, New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said, adding that the language indicated it was not from a credible source.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio called the threat “outlandish” and generic, saying it would have been a “huge disservice” to close the schools.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said, “We are working closely with the NYPD and there is no reason for alarm. As always, the safety of our students and staff both in and around schools is our number one concern and any extra needed security measures will be taken.”
In Los Angeles, all LAUSD schools will be searched by the end of the day, officials said.
Authorities are “vetting” the threat “to determine what, if any, validity it has,” LAPD Assistant Chief Jorge Villegas said. The FBI was notified and the threat is still being analyzed, officials said.
“As you can imagine, we take all threats seriously,” Villegas said. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our kids.”
The second largest school district in the nation, LAUSD enrolls more than 640,000 students at over 900 schools and 187 public charter schools, according to its website. “The boundaries spread over 720 square miles and include the mega-city of Los Angeles as well as all or parts of 31 smaller municipalities plus several unincorporated sections of Southern California,” the website says.
School Board President Steve Zimmer said Tuesday’s change of plans requires the cooperation of all of Los Angeles.
“We need families and neighbors to work together with our schools and with our employees to make sure our kids are safe throughout the day,” he said. “We need employers to show the flexibility that a situation like this demands.”
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