Report on L.A. school shutdown shows confusion over who was in charge, technology shortcomings
An internal report on last year's unprecedented one-day shutdown of Los Angeles schools due to a terrorist threat reveals a confused chain of command among school district and city officials that hampered their ability to quickly and decisively evaluate the risk.
In the end, district officials made a cautious decision regarding the threat, which turned out to be a hoax, as was suspected very early on.
New York City schools received the same emailed threat and remained open.
Once the decision to close L.A.’s schools was made, the process of shutting down the nation’s second-largest school system, which affected the daily routines of more than a million people, unfolded with remarkable smoothness and calm: School buses turned around or never left the garage. Employees went home or stayed home. Students and parents made contingency plans. The media and officials got out the word. Officers walked through nearly 1,000 campuses.
But part of this success was due to the fact that no real emergency existed. The report acknowledges serious logistical problems outside of public view that could have mattered in an actual crisis.
The report, released in response to a Los Angeles Times public records request, affirms that law enforcement and district officials acted quickly to confront the threat, bringing impressive resources to bear. But outside law enforcement agencies also stepped aside over the question of whether schools should be closed, leaving the decision to school officials who lacked any training to evaluate the danger.
The district also was in the middle of a leadership transition, which hampered the decision-making. L.A. schools Supt. Ramon Cortines was on the verge of retirement and had turned over day-to-day control to his second-in-command, Michelle King (who, about a month later, would be named his successor). This unsettled situation crucially affected how events played out.
Cortines was not even notified of the threat until 4:55 a.m., nearly seven hours after it was Report on L.A. school shutdown shows confusion over who was in charge, technology shortcomings - LA Times:
Big Education Ape: Tom Torlakson: LAUSD School Closures - Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education) - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2015/12/tom-torlakson-lausd-school-closures.html
Big Education Ape: Closing LAUSD schools after threat was the only option - LA Times - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2015/12/closing-lausd-schools-after-threat-was.html