All Los Angeles Unified School District campuses have reopened after a threat of violence caused the district to shut down on Tuesday. Law enforcement agencies later determined that threat to be “not credible.”
At a news conference attended by Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, president of the LAUSD board Steve Zimmer said he believed the school system to be safe.
“Some have used words that I think are inappropriate like ‘hoax’ and other things” to describe the incident, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Whether it’s criminal mischief, whether it’s somebody testing vulnerabilities of multiple cities, we still do not know enough to say definitively.”
The second-largest school district in the country received the threat as an email sent to a school board member Monday evening. LAUSD spokeswoman Ellen Morgan told Tracy Bloom for KTLA5 that the IP address had been traced back to Frankfurt, Germany. However, it is believed to have originated from a much closer location.
Speaking at a news conference, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the police department had been notified of the threat, which included “explosive devices,” “assault rifles” and “machine pistols,” late Monday night. Garcetti added that the email had noted “things were already in place to bring that violence about.”
A preliminary assessment deemed the threat, which was also made against New York City schools, to be a “hoax or something designed to disrupt school districts in large cities.”
Beck stood by the decision to close area schools, asking if anyone would have sent their child to school with the information that was available at 5:30 in the morning, when the decision needed to be made.
After the decision had been made, 17-year-old Andres Perez of Montebello was struck and killed by a city service truck as he was crossing Figueroa Street and Avenue 60 on his way to Los Angeles International Charter High School.
Detectives believe the accident occurred at 7:30 am before students were made aware of the district closure. While the charter is not part of the district, school administrators had decided to shut down the location for the day out of caution over the possible incident. A message had been posted to the school website notifying students of the closure for the day.
The 27-year-old driver remained at the scene and was fully cooperative with police, who said he was distraught over the boy’s death.
Clifford Moseley, executive director of the school that enrolls 225 students, said the boy was a standout student who had been accepted to a film program at Cal State Los Angeles.
It is unknown if school crossing guards were on the scene, or if they would have been on that corner if LAUSD had not cancelled classes for that day, reports Hailey Bronson-Potts for The Los Angeles Times.
Tom Torlakson, state Superintendent of Public Instruction, said it was possible that the district could lose as much as $29 million in funding as a result of the shutdown, which brought down the ADA in the district, or average daily attendance. He added that he does have the power to recommend that the district be made whole, and is almost 100% certain the funds will be able to be restored to the district.