Schools all over Los Angeles Unfied School District closed today due to “electronic threats” made to a number of campuses in the district. All 900 campuses are closed, affecting around 700,000 students in the second largest district in the nation. According to a recent report by KCAL 9, the “email” was received from “overseas” at around 5 a.m. this morning and is being analyzed.
Such a shut down is seen as an “unprecedented” procedure for LAUSD. Superintendent Ramon Cortines said to news reporters this morning that he was “not going to take a chance with the life of a student.” Cortines announced that he learned of threats to multiple schools in the district through a police report this morning. According to CNN and KCAL 9, the threat was sent to a school board member through an email from Frankfurt, Germany. The exact whereabouts of the source of this threat is still being investigated.
It is also, coincidentally, the first day of finals at Hollywood High and students showed up ready to face their exams, but instead they faced news that all schools in LAUSD were closed due to a bomb threat involving “backpacks” and other “packages” left on campuses.
Cortines said in a press conference held at 10 a.m. that “it is important that in the last four hours this city [and] this community comes together in behalf of our students.” He said that the safety of LAUSD students is ensured and has taken “all sorts of precautions” to guarantee that they will come home safely.
“[As for] those students that walk to school, we have had principals meet them at the gates of the school and were not dismissed until parents or guardians came to pick them up,” said Cortines during the press conference.
This morning many students were bewildered by the news, confused as to what to do and who to believe. Many other students were watching the news as the information came up and they quickly notified their friends through calls, texts, and group messages. Performing Arts Magnet junior Elizabeth DiMuro said she sent a message to all her friends through a text message on their group chat and she said she soon saw other members of that chain sending the same news.
“My dad told me if I had heard what happened. He told me and I couldn’t believe it,” said DiMuro.
News channels city wide are reporting across the district reporting that there will be a search of the 900 campuses before school can reopen. Parents were also advised to take their children back home and pick them up at the Reunion Gate. Metro is also providing free bus and train transportation for all students as long as they have the proper school I.D.
“We have also asked for our Emergency Operation Center to be activated and we have arranged for MTA to help by providing free bus rides to all LAUSD students.” said Mayor Eric Garcetti who advises everyone to “stay calm.”
Officers are currently searching the surroundings of Hollywood High according to the live broadcast by KCAL 9. They also reported that there are faculty members from within not allowing anyone to enter the school and are perhaps awaiting further update. On our campus, as well as others, only the plant manager and administrators are allowed in and are searching schools grounds with the help of police officials.
According to a report by KTLA 5, many students still went to school to check out what was going on. Sheiks also went to school to see what was going on. KCAL 9 interviewed a pair of students who are still wondering what will happen to their grades and final exams.
Twitter is also buzzing with tweets from district official and students alike. Students are tweeting about the news. “#LAUSD” is the number one trend on Twitter this morning and many are advising their friends to be safe and are hoping for the best.
As everyone stands by waiting for more information and updates on this event, students and adults are bringing into question the topic of student safety. Both Cortines and Garcetti have placed emphasis on student safety, and it is clear that no matter if the threat is “probable” or not, precautions are being taken to ensure that no risks are taken with these students.
As LAUSD board member Steve Zimmer said, according to a tweet by CBS 2, “The only thing that is more important than the education of our children is their safety.”
As the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and LAUSD board members come to an agreement on whether or not the schools are safe, Hollywood High prepares its students by updating the schedule for final exams. Also, the president of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), Alex Caputo-Pearl stated that as the schools begin to reopen, teachers will still place the safety of students as a priority.
“In the coming days, educators will do what we always do—help students understand what has happened, feel safe and be a part of building a peaceful world.” said Caputo-Pearl.