One year ago today the schools shut down: Revisiting the fallout from the threatening email
Mike Szymanski | December 15, 2016
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One year ago today, the second-largest school district in the country made a decision to shut down all its schools. At 6:25 a.m. the call went out after LA Unified school board President Steve Zimmer received an email that threatened students and staff with weapons and bombs.
The district was between superintendents. Ramon Cortines had actually left three days earlier, and the school board was in the middle of a nationwide search for his replacement.
Cortines was called back in, and acting Superintendent Michelle King, who a month later would be named to the post, joined him as they stood as calming voices during a chaotic day of news conferences that included city, county and state officials.
The district is expected to release its report today that assesses how the various departments responded to the December event and what can be improved in district rapid response. School Police Chief Steven Zipperman wrote the report, which was compiled for Earl Perkins and his district operations office. It has been turned in to King, who must approve it before it is released. Check back for LA School Report’s analysis of what the district has learned — and has yet to learn.
Here are links to highlights of last year’s coverage.
- JUST IN: LA Unified closed due to ‘serious’ threat to schools. The first reports were of an unspecified “serious threat.”
- Live updates of the LA Unified terror threat school closures. Live Tweets from throughout the day.
- LAUSD acted on threats of violence with explosive devices, rifles, pistols. The mid-morning news conference included school officials, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
- A long day across LAUSD as tension and investigators visit schools. Reports from the schools as the day played out.
- High school student killed by truck as LAUSD closed due to threat. A Los Angeles International Charter High School student was struck by a truck in Highland Park after the schools closed.
- LAUSD declares schools safe for opening, but investigation continues. By afternoon, the district declared the schools safe.
- LA officials defend closing of schools even if threat is a hoax. Even before the day was over, officials were being criticized for overreacting to the threat.
- Here’s the entire email that closed down all LAUSD schools. The actual email that Zimmer received wasn’t released until two days later.
- LAUSD returns to as close to normal as possible after one-day scare. The district tried to return to normal as much as possible the next day.
- Point/Counterpoint: Did LAUSD make the right call on closure? There was disagreement among our own staff about whether the district went too far that day.