Update, 3:40 p.m. EST: Hours after officials decided to cancel school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, a House Intelligence Committee member confirmed this morning’s threat was a hoax.
BREAKING: House Intelligence Committee member says Los Angeles school threat is believed to be a hoax.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 15, 2015
All schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District were directed to close early Tuesday morning after officials electronically received a “credible terrorist threat” affecting multiple schools in the district. It’s the country’s second-largest school district, serving 640,000 students. A massive operation is now underway to search campuses—900 schools, and 187 public charter schools across the network—for suspicious-looking items.
At a press conference shortly after the decision was announced, school officials called the decision “swift and appropriate given the situation that we are in.”
“It was many schools, not specifically identified,” LA’s school superintendent, Ramon Cortines, told reporters. “But there were many schools.”
“We ask for the patience and the cooperation and the support of the city,” he added. “The education of our kids is incredibly important.”
Officials have asked parents to “bring proper ID” when picking up students who were already at school before the decision was made.
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the city had received the same threat but officials ultimately concluded it was a hoax.
“Our schools are safe,” de Blasio said. “Kids should be in school today. We will be vigilant. But we are absolutely convinced our schools are safe.”