Los Angeles closed its public schools on Tuesday, canceling studies for approximately 640,000 students. The closure was in response to a suspected bomb and gun attack that officials were worried was about to occur in the school district. Officials have since confirmed that the threat was nothing more than a hoax and school is again in session.
After the second biggest school district in the country shut down its schools on Tuesday, law enforcement officials carried out a massive search at over 1,000 schools in the district. By the end of the day Tuesday, officials had determined that the buildings were safe and classes could resume on Wednesday.
Police on Duty at Schools to Quell Fears
Los Angeles Chief of Police Charlie Beck calmed parents and the community by saying additional officers would be on duty at schools Wednesday to help people feel safe. Authorities also said that they provided teachers with materials to help them address the school disruption with their students.
The school shutdown was prompted after officials received threat by email. The email was routed by way of Germany, but they suspect that it was sent from a local source in Los Angeles. The email hoax arrived just two weeks following a mass shooting by a married couple in San Bernardino, where 14 people were killed and 22 were wounded.
New York City's public schools received a similar email hoax at the same time. However, school officials there determined it was a hoax and chose not close down their school district.
Did Los Angeles Overreact?
According to CNN, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that they are beginning an investigation into the hoax. On Tuesday, the mayor made the following statement during a news conference, "Whether it's criminal mischief, whether it's somebody testing vulnerabilities of multiple cities, we still do not know enough to say definitively." Meanwhile, the New York City Police Commissioner said Los Angeles' public schools overreacted.
New York City's and Los Angeles' different ways of dealing with bomb and gun threats highlights the way mass shootings and other terrorist attacks are affecting the management of our communities. In addition to the debate over second amendment gun laws and the proposal of other new laws, many community leaders are facing the question: Should we risk more deaths in the face of a threat, and then be criticized for taking no action if an attack actually occurs; or, should we risk being called over reactive and take action now out of an abundance of caution?
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