LA schools struggle to address closings after terrorism threat

Some 700,000 students were out for the day after a system-wide threat, but the district’s digital communications were uneven.

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When a school district with more than 700,000 students closes because of a terrorism threat, the fear is all the more chilling because of recent mass shootings in nearby San Bernardino and distant Paris.

For communicators from The Los Angeles Unified School District and local law enforcement, the outreach effort dwarfs any similar effort many organizations might face.

Not only did the district have to notify its employees, but it also had to get to hundreds of thousands of parents just as they were prodding their children out the door and dashing off to work.

The threat to the nation’s largest school district was communicated through a press conference that reached newspapers and radio and television stations across the vast district and nationwide. The Los Angeles Times reported:

Officials closed all Los Angeles Unified School District campuses Tuesday morning after receiving a “credible threat” of violence involving backpacks and packages left at campuses.

Authorities said they plan a search operation of all of the LAUSD’s more than 900 schools. The nation’s second-largest school district has more than 700,000 students.

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