Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

All LAUSD Neighborhood and Charter Schools Closed Today After “Credible” Terror Threat

Closed doors at John Burroughs Middle School this morning.

Around 6:30 this morning, area telephones, social media and wider local media started lighting up with word that the Los Angeles Unified School District had decided to close all of the district’s campuses today, keeping or sending home nearly 700,000 students after Los Angeles School Board President Steve Zimmer received via e-mail  “credible” terror threats involving explosive devices and firearms attacks at “many” district campuses.

Those who were about to leave for school stayed home, while parents who had already dropped off students were notified to pick them up, with valid identification in hand.  Teachers and all staff except principals and plant managers were also told to stay home.  By around 8:30, our local campuses seemed to be tightly locked up, with both doors and parking lot gates closed.

Parking lot gates were also closed and locked up tight.

School Superintendent Ramon Cortines held a press conference shortly after 7 a.m. to formally announce the closures.  During the event, he said that while individual schools receive threats all the time, this one, involving a large number of schools, carried more credibility, so the District decided to act on the side of caution, keeping people away until all campuses could be thoroughly searched.

Meanwhile, as parents and students scrambled to alter their plans for the day after the schools closed (city employers were urged to be lenient with parents who had to stay home or bring children to work), Metro announced that it will provide free rides on city buses and trains until noon today for LAUSD students with valid IDs.

As the news developed later in the morning, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City schools had received the same e-mailed threats, but decided they were a hoax and opted to keep its schools open.  

Around 10 a.m., Cortines held a second news conference, along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, the chief of LAUSD’s School Police force, and members of the Los Angeles School Board.

At that event, Mr. Cortines said that whether or not the threat proves real, it was worth paying attention to it.  “Somebody has sent us information that leads us to pause and make sure that we are safe and our children are safe,” he said.

Mayor Garcetti echoed those sentiments.  “We are here because our first job is to make sure people are safe in the city,” he said.  “We will continue to hope that this is nothing and that our children can be back at school tomorrow” but “an abundance of caution is something that I think all of us who have children can appreciate.”

LAUSD School Board Vice President George McKenna agreed, and said that no matter the outcome of the situation, “this is not wasted time,” because it sends a message about the “value” of our children, and the lengths city officials will go to to protect them.

Finally, a number of local institutions have announced that they can help fill students’ time today.  Local libraries are open…LACMA has free admission for children under 17…and the newly re-opened Petersen Museum is offering free admission to students whose schools are closed today.

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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