Every school in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) was closed on Tuesday after “a very specific threat [was] delivered to a number of people on the school board,” Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck said at a press conference.
The threat of violence referenced bombs, assault rifles, and Allah, according to Beck.
While it was ultimately the school superintendent’s decision to close more than 900 schools, other officials including Beck defended that decision Tuesday.
Beck took a defensive tone at the 1 p.m. EST press conference where he seemed to hit back at comments that LAUSD overreacted to the threat.
“I would say this to people that are critical … It is very easy to criticise a decision when you have no responsibility for the outcome of that decision,” Beck said. “All of us make tough choices. All of us have the same goal in mind … Southern California has been through a lot in recent weeks. Should we risk putting our children through the same?”
His words may well be a response to New York Police Department (NYPD) Police Commissioner William Bratton — who criticised LA’s response to the threat.
“It’s what they (terrorists) want, whether it’s a prankster or a terrorist, they want to instill fear,” Bratton said, according to The New York Daily News.
“To disrupt the daily school schedules of half a million school children, their parents, daycare, buses, based on an anonymous email with no consultation, if in fact consultation did not occur with law enforcement authorities, I think it was a significant overreaction,” added Bratton, who was police commissioner of the LAPD from 2002 to 2009.
On Tuesday, New York City schools also received a threat, but the NYPD tweeted that it had been “specific but NON credible.”
LAUSD has not indicated when schools will reopen but said it will be giving updates to parents and community members every hour.
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