LA schools to reopen after hoax threat
Public schools in Los Angeles were set to reopen after concluding that a threat of violence which triggered mass school closures was not credible. FBI and local police inspected more than 1,500 sites on Tuesday and deemed them safe. "The preliminary assessment is that it was a hoax or something designed to disrupt school districts in large cities," said Adam Schiff, a local congressman.
Los Angeles schools were closed after several people on district's school board received an electronic threat. LA police and FBI were notified of the threat which was being investigated. District Superintendent Ramon Cortines said the threat was against students, not just a single campus. The shutdown abruptly closed more than 900 public schools and 187 charter schools attended by 640,000 students across Los Angeles.
A threat similar to that of LA was sent to New York City's public schools whose officials dismissed it as a hoax and kept campuses open and accused LA of overreacting.
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the threat to city schools was "not credible" and called the decision by Los Angeles officials to cancel school "a significant overreaction". Bratton, a former LA police chief, said LA's response could fuel anxiety and copycat threats. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that it would be disservice to nation to shut down school system.
The one-day closure of schools in Los Angeles could technically cost the school district $29 million in per-pupil funding, according to the Los Angeles Times.
LA officials defended their decision to close schools while they investigated a potential threat against students that turned out not to be credible. LA schools Superintendent Ramon Cortines said it was a necessary precaution. "Based on past circumstances, I could not take the chance," he said. LA Mayor Garcetti who supported the move said, "Decisions need to be made in a matter of minutes."