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Los Angeles Schools Close After Bomb Threat, Police Say

All Los Angeles public schools were closed on Tuesday, December 15, due to a credible threat, the Los Angeles Police Department and superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Ramon Cortines, said in a joint press conference. 

“Somebody has sent information that leads us to pause to make sure that we are safe,” Cortines said in an afternoon press conference. “That our children and our staff are safe.”

The threat, according to The New York Times, was called in to a member of the school board. Police officials told ABC News on Tuesday morning that the decision to close campuses was made solely by Cortines“A threat had been made to not one school but many schools in this district,” L.A.’s school district leader said on Tuesday morning. “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.”

Hours after the L.A. schools shut down, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton held a presser, and said the anonymous electronic message was also sent to other cities.

According to de Blasio, the threat “was so generic, so outlandish, and posed to numerous school systems simultaneously,” that he decided against shutting public schools in NYC, which counts more than 1 million students. “It would be a huge disservice to our nation,” he added, if they decided to shut down local schools on Tuesday. 

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A school bus is escorted by law enforcement after the shootings in San Bernardino
A school bus is escorted by law enforcement after the shootings in San Bernardino, California on December 7, 2015

L.A. police chief Charlie Beck spoke alongside the city’s superintendent on Tuesday in their afternoon presser. “The superintendent made a decision, we support this decision,” Beck noted. “It is very easy in hindsight to criticize a decision when the decider made the decision. . . The school district safeguards 3/4 of a million lives every day . . . I think it’s irresponsible to criticize that decision at this point.”

The LAUSD is the second largest school district in America, counting 900-plus schools and 187 charter schools. It has more than 640,000 students from kindergarten through the 12th grade. According to a morning press conference, the threat was “rare” enough for the school district to take action.

Faculty members and students have been advised to keep their distance from the schools and surrounding vicinities. 

Meanwhile, LAUSD school bus drivers — some en route to pick up kids at various bus stops — told local ABC affiliate KABC Los Angeles that they were called back by dispatchers. All of the buses were returned to their respective depots.

Burbank schools remain open, as well as private schools in LAUSD. The LAUSD official Twitter account tweeted instructions for parents to pick up their kids.

The threat was made a day after the third anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were killed back in 2012.

Story is developing.

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