Los Angeles High School and the Girls Academic Leadership Academy, a charter middle school housed on the LA High campus, were on lockdown this morning, and surrounding streets were closed, after what early reports and social media posts have said was a bomb threat (or, as a school phone call to parents called it, “a telephonic bomb threat”). The situation was still unfolding as this story was being prepared, but from what we’ve heard so far, police were first notified of the threat around 8:10 this morning, and students were evacuated to a “safe area” (which other reports have identified as the football field). Parents were asked not to come to the area to pick up their students.
The campus was searched by the LAUSD school police, with assistance from the LAPD Bomb Squad…and with streets roped off in several directions, the atmosphere was eerily quiet as the investigation progressed. At approximately 1:15 pm, the lockdown was ended and classes resumed.
Unfortunately, this is not the first such threat in our area this week. On Monday, February 27, the Westside Jewish Community Center, about a mile west of L.A. High on Olympic, was one of 30 Jewish schools and community centers in 18 states that were also targeted with bomb threats that day…part of an ongoing, nation-wide wave of anti-Semitic incidents since the first of the year.
WJCC Executive Director Brian Greene told KPCC radio yesterday that “We got a call at about 4:40 PM– a bomb threat call, very similar to the kinds of calls we’ve been hearing about all over the country over the last 4 0r 5 weeks.” At the time, Greene said, there were still children in the center’s preschool facility, as well as activity on the basketball courts and more than 200 swimmers at the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy housed at the center.
As with the other such calls, however, this one did eventually turn out to be a hoax. In the KPCC interview, Greene went on to say the staff followed existing protocols for such procedures, and the response went smoothly:
“First of all, we called LAPD. They were terrific. And really, they guided us through the whole thing. We were ready to evacuate the building quickly and calmly. Our staff knew exactly where to take children and where to move people so that everybody was moved to a safe location.”
Greene also sent out a letter to WJCC members and other contacts on Monday night, after the incident was over, and reassured patrons that the situation had been resolved and security is being monitored. In the letter, Green reported:
“At 7:15 p.m. the call was determined to be a hoax and our building was reopened. Our JCC and JCCs nationally are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with local law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, as well as the Secure Community Network, which is focused on security for Jewish institutions throughout North America.
Please know that safety remains our top priority. At the same time, we will not be bullied by terrorism. Thank you to everyone who has already shown their support, we will stand tall with other JCCs around the country and continue to be a gathering place for our community.”
[Buzz Co-Publisher Patricia Lombard contributed to this story.]
This story was updated around 1:30 pm to note the end of the lockdown.