All Los Angeles Unified School District schools have been closed today after police received a "credible" bomb threat.
“A threat had been made to not one school but many schools in this district,” Ramon Cortines, the superintendent of schools, told reporters Tuesday. “Some of the details talked about backpacks and other packages. After talking with him, also with the board president, I made a decision to close all of the schools.” The FBI, the Los Angeles Times reports, has been brought in to assess.
With more than 640,000 students who attend more than 900 schools and 187 public charter locations across the city, LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the country.
Cortines said that the threat was not targeted at a specific school. "It was 'to students at school,'" he explained, adding, "I think it is important that I take this precaution based upon what has happened recently and what has happened in the past."
NBC News said in a tweet that the treat came in the form of an email:
Los Angeles School Police Chief Steven Zipperman told Reuters that the decision to shut the schools was made out of "an abundance of caution." All students and staff are being asked to stay away from the schools.
The threat comes less than two weeks after a terror attack in San Benardino left 14 dead, but authorities say there is no connection between today's threat and the December 2 attack.
Details are still emerging, but experts say the threatening document was routed through Germany. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said, however, that "the origin has yet to be determined and we believe it to be much closer than Germany.”
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said NYC schools also received a threat, but that officials have determined it to be a hoax. "We do believe, a preliminary investigation, that this is in fact a hoax and we will investigate it as such,” Bratton said, characterizing LA's response as a "significant overreaction.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio added that the threat's language was "outlandish, and was "nothing credible."
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.