2015 Los Angeles Unified School District Closure
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2015 Los Angeles Unified School District Closure was an unscheduled one day shutdown of all schools in Los Angeles and its adjoining Southern California cities on December 15th, 2015. Prompted by an e-mail threat sent to several board members of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the closure resulted in the recess of 900 schools and 187 public charter schools and affected more than 700,000 students in the country's second-largest school district. However, the e-mail threat was subsequently determined to be a hoax.
On December 15th, 2015, the LAUSD officials announced a temporary closure of all district schools on the grounds of a credible threat of terrorism they had received via e-mail from email@example.com on the previous day. According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the email sent to officials alleged that multiple schools would be targeted in an attack involving pistols, assault rifles and explosive devices concealed in backpacks and packages.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I am emailing you to inform you of the happenings on Tuesday, 12/15/15.
Something big is going down. Something very big. It will make national headlines. Perhaps, even international ones. You see, my last 4 years here at one of the district high schools has been absolute hell. Pure, unmitigated, agony. The bullying, the loneliness, the rejection… it is never-ending. And for what? Just because I'm 'different'?
No. No more. I am a devout Muslim, and was once against violence, but I have teamed up with a local jihadist cell as it is the only way I'll be able to accomplish my massacre the correct way. I would not be able to do it alone. Me, and my 32 comrades, will die tomorrow in the name of Allah. Every school in the L.A. Unified district is being targeted. We have bombs hidden in lockers already at several schools. They are strategically placed and are meant to crumble the foundations of the very buildings that monger so much hate and discrimination. They are pressure cooker bombs, hidden in backpacks around the schools. They are loaded with 20 lbs. of gunpowder, for maximum damage. They will be detonated via Cell Phone. Not only are there bombs, but there are nerve gas agents set to go off at a specific time: during lunch hour. To top it off, my brothers in Allah and I have Kalashnikov rifles, Glock 18 Machine pistols, and multiple handheld grenades. The students at every school in the L.A. Unified district will be massacred, mercilessly. And there is nothing you can do to stop it.
If you do end up trying to, by perhaps, beefing up security, or canceling classes for the day, it won't matter. Your security will not be able to stop us. We are an army of Allah. If you cancel classes, the bombings will take place regardless, and we will bring our guns to the streets and offices of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and San Diego.
I wish you the best luck. It is time to pray to allah, as this may be your last day.
News Media Coverage
The announcement of the LAUSD closure was immediately picked up by virtually all local news outlets in the region, including KTLA, ABC7, Los Angeles Times and CBS Los Angeles, as well as major U.S. news publications and online news sites, such as CNN, The Huffington Post, BoingBoing and Ars Technica, among many others.
Shortly after the LAPD began investigating the e-mail threat, the authorities were able to trace its sender to an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany, though it was deemed as a preliminary assessment and not the identification of its origin. Meanwhile in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Department (NYPD) officials announced that they had received the same threat via e-mail on the previous day, though they promptly dismissed the e-mail as a hoax based on a grammatical analysis of the language used in the letter.
"The language in the e-mail would lead us to believe that this is not a jihadist initiative," he said. "…That would be incredible to think that any jihadist would not spell Allah with a capital ‘A.'"
Cock.li Email Server Subopena
Around 12:05 p.m., shortly before the officials began speculating the possibility of a hoax, Vincent Canfield, the owner and administrator of an underground e-mail server at cock.li (shown below, left), tweeted a copy of the subpoena documents he received from the NYPD, as well as audio recordings of brief conversations he had with NYPD's Intelligence Bureau officials (shown below, right). According to the website, the server provides email services for more than 63,500 accounts, many of them for domains containing expletive language and meme references, including over 3,000 accounts associated with 4chan's splinter community 8chan.
By early afternoon on December 15th, ranking members on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee had released a statement saying that the threat appears to be "a hoax or something designed to disrupt school districts in large cities." As more officials similarly began dismissing the e-mail threat as a hoax, the LAUSD's decision came under some criticism, most notably from Bill Bratton, the current commissioner of NYPD and the former chief of LAPD, who told reporters that the closure of all campuses in the country's second-largest school district was a "significant overreaction" (shown below, left). Meanwhile, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines defended his decision as a proactive measure taken out of an abundance of caution, particularly in the light of the mass shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead ealrier that same month. Later that day, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest implicitly supported the city officials by saying that "[he] won't second guess the decisions made by local law enforcement officials" (shown below, right).
As a result of the district-wide closure, a total of 1,531 campus sites were inspected by 2,780 law enforcement officers over the course of six or seven hours. In addition, the LAUSD suffered a loss of $29 million in state funding, though some state officials, including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, suggested that the funds may be reimbursed in consideration of the circumstances.
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 Wikipedia – 2015 Los Angeles Unified School District Closure
 The Huffington Post – Los Angeles Schools Closed Due To Emailed Threat
 The Huffington Post – The Email That Shut Down LA Schools Came From An 'Internet Meme Sewer'
 BoingBoing – LA's "credible" terror threats were reportedly anonymous email from cock.li
 Ars Technica – All LA schools shut down over message sent from 8chan’s e-mail host, cock.li
 Los Angeles Times – LAUSD threat live updates: Second-guessing is easy, L.A. police chief says
 Los Angeles Times – L.A. schools to reopen Wednesday; threat against schools was 'not credible,' officials say
 CBS Los Angeles – Schools To Reopen Wednesday After Threat Prompts LAUSD To Shut Down All Campuses
 Cock.li – 2015-12-15 Subpoena
 Twitter – Vincent Canfield's Tweet
 Cock.li – Cock.li email hosting
 KTLA – LAUSD Classes Resume After Schools Deemed ‘Safe’ Following Threat of Violence
 ABC7 – LAUSD SCHOOLS REOPEN UNDER INCREASED SECURITY AFTER THREAT
SEE YOU JUNE Moderator
Dec 16, 2015 at 05:04PM EST
Dec 16, 2015 at 05:05PM EST
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