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Los Angeles Unified schools closed due to threat

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Posted at 2:40 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 17:40:19-05

All schools in the vast Los Angeles Unified School District have been ordered closed due to a threat.

The ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence says the threat that shut down the Los Angeles school system is believed to be a hoax.
   
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said a preliminary investigation indicates that the threats in Los Angeles and New York City were designed to disrupt school districts in large cities.
   
He says in a statement Tuesday that investigators are still gathering information about the origin of the threats.
   
Officials have said the threats targeted students and involved gun attacks and explosive devices. It led Los Angeles school officials to close more than 900 public schools and 187 charter schools.
   
New York City officials say they received the same threat as Los Angeles but quickly concluded it was a hoax.

Los Angeles Unified School District police Chief Steven Zipperman says an "electronic" threat led to the decision to close all schools in the nation's second largest school district Tuesday morning. Zipperman says the threat is still being evaluated.

A law enforcement official says the threat that closed all schools in the vast Los Angeles Unified School District was emailed to a school board member and appeared to come from overseas.

New York City officials say they received the same threat that led to the closure of the Los Angeles school system but quickly concluded that it was a hoax.
  
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday morning that he was "absolutely convinced" there was no danger to schoolchildren in New York.
  
New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said he thought Los Angeles officials overreacted by deciding to close the nation's second-largest school system. He said a school superintendent received the threatening email Tuesday morning.
  
Bratton said the person who wrote the note claimed to be a jihadist but made errors that made it clear the person was a prankster.

District Superintendent Ramon Cortines says the threat was against students, not just a single campus.

Cortines said at a news conference Tuesday that an electronic threat in the form of a message was made against students at many of the district's schools. He says the schools commonly get threats but called this one rare. Officials wouldn't elaborate.
  
Cortines says he ordered the shutdown out of an abundance of caution after the Dec. 2 attack in nearby San Bernardino that left 14 people dead.
  
He says he wants every school to be searched and a report given to him and the school board.

The district, the second largest in the nation, has 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade and more than 900 schools and 187 public charter schools.
   
The district spans 720 square miles including Los Angeles and all or part of more than 30 smaller cities and some unincorporated areas.
  
Officials are notifying parents to keep their children at home.

"We need to cooperation of the whole of Los Angeles today," said school board President Steve Zimmer. "We need families and neighbors to work together with our schools and with our employees to make sure our schools are safe throughout today."