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Los Angeles shuts all its schools after email threatens students

By Staff Reporter

Published 16/12/2015

The Los Angeles Unified School District has more than 900 schools
The Los Angeles Unified School District has more than 900 schools

Every public school in the Los Angeles area was ordered to close yesterday after an emailed threat targeted students.

The shooting in nearby San Bernardino that left 14 people dead earlier this month influenced the decision to close all the schools, attended by 640,000 students, Superintendent Ramon Cortines said.

A law enforcement official said the threat was emailed to a school board member late on Monday and appeared to come from overseas.

Officials would not elaborate on the threat, saying it was still being evaluated last night, but said the shutdown came as a precaution.

Schools would remain closed until the threat was cleared.

Los Angeles schools commonly get threats, but Mr Cortines called this one rare.

He said: "It was not to one school, two schools or three schools. It was many schools, not specifically identified. But there were many schools. That's the reason I took the action that I did."

Mr Cortines ordered every campus to be thoroughly searched and a report given to him and the school board that they are safe.

The district has more than 900 schools and 187 public charter schools.

Mr Cortines said the district police chief informed him about the threat shortly after 5am.

He added: "He shared with me that some of the details talked about backpacks, talked about other packages."

New York City officials said they received the same threat that led to the closure of the Los Angeles schools, but quickly concluded that it was a hoax.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he was "absolutely convinced" there was no danger to schoolchildren in New York.

New York police commissioner William Bratton said he thought the Los Angeles officials overreacted by deciding to close the nation's second-largest school system.

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