Early Tuesday morning, Los Angeles school officials abruptly canceled all classes and ordered more than 640,000 students to stay home. The announcement came after a potentially credible bomb threat was emailed to L.A.’s school board.
Los Angeles School Superintendent Ramon Cortines told reporters that the e-mailed threat covered many schools, but that they were not specifically identified. He said he made the unprecedented call to cancel school in this situation because he refused to take any chances in light of the San Bernardino massacre and other mass shootings and attacks recently, both domestic and abroad.
Ramon unequivocally stated that, “I, as superintendent, am not going to take the chance with the life of a student.”
The school district, officially known as the Los Angeles Unified School District, is the second largest in the United States and is comprised of more than 1,000 schools.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters that students would be permitted to ride city buses and trains free of charge.
The e-mailed bomb warning focused solely on L.A.’s school district and no other entities or institutions. It is currently being vetted and investigated according to law enforcement officials.
Cortines added that the threat was not towards “one school, two schools or three schools. It was many schools, not specifically identified.”
The announcement that classes were canceled was made early in the morning and many students had not yet left their homes or arrived at their schools. But in the event students did arrive at school, Cortines said that the district was ensuring that school administrators would be available to help students return home.
The last-minute closure impacted and rippled through Los Angeles, as thousands of parents had to stay home with their children or find backup childcare. Many said it was a small price to pay to ensure the safety of their children.
Cortines said that in the meantime, he ordered several “plant managers” of the school district to thoroughly examine all school grounds for “anything out of line.”
He added that the district will decide if the schools are safe before announcing whether children may return to school Wednesday.