LOS ANGELES—Early Tuesday morning the Los Angeles Unified School District closed all its school campuses after “credible threats” of violence involving backpacks and packages left at schools. This has also prompted the closure of Armenian schools within the district parameters and outside.
The Board of Regents of the Prelacy Armenian Schools announced that the Rose and Alex Pilibos School and the Marie Postoyan Pre-School in Holllywood, the two campuses of the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian School (Encino, Parthenia as they are commonly known) and the Pilavjian Pre-School, also in the San Fernando Valley to close and send students home.
The AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park has also closed and sent its students home.
The Vahan and Anoush Chamlian School and the Tufenkian Pre-School in Glendale as well as the Tavlian Pre-School in Pasadena, the Armenian Mesrobian School in Pico Rivera and the Ari Guiragos Minassian School in Orange County remain open and are safe.
The Board of Regents has closed the Armenian schools in areas where the local schools district has also closed its schools. The Board and school administrators are in contact with local law enforcement officials and will provide parents with further updates.
However, the Board of Regents did not discourage parents who choose to keep their children–who are students in the schools that have not been closed—home.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that officials have said the threat came in electronic form and was made to numerous but unspecified campuses. As a result, they made the decision to close all campuses for the day.
The Los Angeles Police Department and FBI were assisting with the threat investigation, Los Angeles School Police Chief Steve Zipperman told the Los Angeles Times.
“The threat is still being analyzed,” he told the LA Times. “We have chosen to close our schools today until we can be sure our campuses are safe.”
The LA Times, citing Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) as a source reported that the person who sent an email threat to several LAUSD board members that prompted the school closures claimed to be “an extremist Muslim who has teamed up with local jihadists.”
“The email makes relatively specific and wide-ranging threats to Los Angeles schools,” Sherman, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the LA Times.
“The text of the email does not demonstrate that the author has studied Islam or has any particular understanding of Islam,” he added. The only thing known, Sherman said, was that the email was “sent by an evil person.”
The email also mentioned explosive devices, assault rifles and pistols and was traced to an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany, according to law enforcement sources, reported the LA Times.
“I understand the concern families must be feeling this morning, but it is critical we remain calm. This decision has been made by the School District in an abundance of caution. As Mayor, we have shared our support and our intelligence and LAPD is working in collaboration with LAUSD School Police to fully investigate this threat. We have also asked our Emergency Operations Center to be activated and we have arranged for MTA to help by providing free bus rides to all LAUSD students. We will continue to monitor this situation. Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our families,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement Tuesday.