Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hoax Shuts down Los Angeles Schools

Trigger Warning:
Here's Stock Dog to cheer you up a bit before the bad news...
Final Update, 9:00 pm EST:

This morning several school board members at the Los Angeles Unified School District, as well as school districts in New York City, received an email that threatened a massive terror attack on schools throughout the area.  The message sent to New York read, in part, "The students at every school in the New York City school district will be massacred, mercilessly. And there is nothing you can do to stop it."  This threat, combined with the fact that the San Bernardino terror attack was just a week ago, prompted LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines to close every school in the area.  Over 1,000 schools and hundreds of thousands of students and parents were affected.  New York officials, however, deemed the threat to be "non-credible," and kept their schools open.

Well it turns out that New York was right, and the whole thing was a hoax:
The bomb threat that led officials in Los Angeles to close all public schools Tuesday likely was "a hoax or something designed to disrupt school districts in large cities," the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee said.
Apparently there were a whole bunch of key errors in the message that led New York officials to conclude that the threat was, in fact, a hoax.

So now the question becomes, did LAUSD do the right thing in shutting down school for the day?  I'd argue that they did, especially given recent events.  If the last month has shown anything, it's that terror can strike literally anywhere at any time.  ISIS doesn't care if they're shooting up a bar, a concert hall, or a Christmas party.  Is it really too much of a leap to suggest that they would target schools?  Not really, especially when you consider that San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook allegedly planned to attack several schools back in 2012.

Now the Los Angeles Unified School District is going to take some heat over the next few days.  Here's the question, though; what if the threat turned out to be real and they had done nothing?  The answer to that is too terrible to even contemplate.  The LAUSD erred on the side of caution and student safety.  They did the right thing in my opinion.

Note: I'm keeping the original post I made below.  Mainly because I think it's interesting to look back at how an event like this evolves throughout the day. 

This is a developing story that just broke recently, but apparently all schools for the Los Angeles Unified School District are closed due to an unspecified terror threat.  KABC - TV has the very brief report:
Los Angeles police confirmed that all Los Angeles Unified School District schools are closed Tuesday as police investigate an unspecified threat.

LAPD said the school district received some sort of threat - with unknown credibility.
There isn't a whole lot of info to go on at this point.  The LA Times is reporting that a bomb threat was called into a school board member.  I'll post more info as best I can as per usual, though.

H/T to Twitter user @BlameBigGovt for posting a heads up.

Update:  Fox News is reporting that LA Unified School District superintendent Ramon Cortines is saying that all of their schools will be searched.  That's about 900 schools, and 187 charter schools, which should tell you just how big a deal this is.  Apparently the threat they received was electronic and referenced the San Bernardino shooting as well as several international events.  Cortines also said "I, as superintendent, am not going take a chance with the students."

Good for him.  We're all hoping that the threat turns out to be absolutely nothing, but you can never be too careful.  Especially coming off of the San Bernardino terror attack, and especially where kids are concerned.  As far as I'm concerned Superintendent Cortines is doing his job.  Good luck to the first responders.

The LA School Police tweeted out the following on their Twitter account this morning:



They've got a press conference scheduled for 9:00 AM PST.  A little under half an hour away as of this update.

Update: Via Fox News again, New York City has received a threat against their schools, too
 Meanwhile, police in New York City announced they had received a threat against city schools, but they do not consider it credible. They say they are coordinating with the FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force and LAPD.
Looks like that press conference scheduled earlier is going on as well.  The link above should have it.

Update: Could it be a hoax? There are some questions now as to whether or not the threat may be real.  Apparently the FBI and LAPD had their doubts.  Still, though, given what happened in San Bernardino it may be better to be safe than sorry.

Link with video at Fox News. 

CBS New York is reporting that the NYC and LA threats were very similar.  NYC officials determined it was a hoax, but LA decided to shut down schools.  Without consulting the LAPD, apparently:
All schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District were ordered closed Tuesday due to a threat. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the email received in New York was similar to the one received in Los Angeles.
“We do believe, a preliminary investigation, that this in fact a hoax and we will investigate it as such,” Bratton said.
He added that the school system in Los Angeles shut down schools without consulting with the Los Angeles Police Department. Bratton called the move a “significant overreaction.”

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