Officials shut down all schools in the second largest school district in the U.S. Tuesday after receiving an unspecified threat and ordered a massive search.
The threat that shut down campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District was described as “credible.” Authorities are planning to search more than 900 schools in the LAUSD, which host more than 700,000 students.
“I think it’s important to take this precaution based on what has happened recently and what has happened in the past,” said LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines, The Los Angeles Times reports. Cortines also said that the threat was against students at several schools.
“It was not to one school, two or three schools, it was many schools, not specifically identified, but there were many schools,” Cortines said. “That’s the reason I took the action I did.”
“We get threats all the time. This was a rare threat,” Cortines added. “I am not taking the chance of taking children any place into the building until I know it’s safe.”
The threat was delivered through an electronic message and mentioned backpacks and other packages, Cortines said. A school board member received the threat, LA Times reports.
According to the Washington Post, LAUSD spokeswoman Monica Carazo confirmed the “credible threat” was a bomb threat.
Concerned about the safety of the students and schools, Cortines asked police to search all school grounds, including adult school and early education centers, before reopening on Wednesday, LA Times reports.
The FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department were helping with the investigation, said Los Angeles School Police Chief Steve Zipperman. “The threat is still being analyzed,” he said. “We have chosen to close our schools today until we can be sure our campuses are safe.”
Officials said that any students who had already arrived at their schools were supervised until parents could come get them.
Authorities said that they were unaware of any other threats to schools beyond the district, adding that the they would issue more details on the threat later on Tuesday.
Cortines’ move to close the schools comes less than two weeks after 14 people were killed by two shooters in San Bernardino, Calif., the deadlist terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11.
However, the U.S. has experienced several deadly attacks in schools recently, typically involving gunmen. The attack with the most casualties in the last 10 years occurred at Virginia Tech. A shooter killed 32 people, according to Reuters. The second deadliest was the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., which left six educators and 20 children dead.