More than 1,000 schools in the Los Angeles area were closed Tuesday after the school district received a bomb threat via email, but it later turned out to be a hoax that was also sent to school officials in New York City, where officials called LA’s response an “overreaction.”
The email in Los Angeles was sent to a board member of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which is the second-largest school district in the United States that enrolls more than 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at over 900 schools and 187 public charter schools.
The author of the email described themselves as a Muslim extremist who had teamed up with 32 jihadists in the Los Angeles area to carry out an attack. U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman, who read the email, said the message did not demonstrate that the author had studied Islam.
After school officials made the unprecedented move to close all LAUSD schools, police in New York City announced that a school superintendent in the city had received an email that was similar to the one in Los Angeles. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio added that the email was “so outrageous” that authorities never considered closing schools.
According to the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the email sent to New York City, the author claimed that students at “every school” in the city would be “massacred mercilessly” with cooker bombs, nerve gas agents and machine guns. The author in the New York email described themselves as a bullied student with “138 comrades.”
By the end of the day, all LAUSD schools were searched and nothing suspicious was located, and the district plans to open schools as usual on Wednesday.
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