A bomb threat email, later deemed to be a hoax, caused authorities to close down all schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District yesterday. The closings affected 640,000 students.
“Bomb threats and responding to bomb threats is an art, it is not a science, but they were wrong because they violated the art,” Homeland security expert and host of WGBH’s Security Mom podcast Juliette Kayyem said on Boston Public Radio Wednesday about the decision to close all schools in the district.
Kayyem blames a lack of communication between LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines, the LAPAD, and the Mayor’s office, for the hasty assessment of the threat and subsequent school closing.
“Processes are put into place all the time. There’s testing, there’s table tops, there’s communication, there’s whole of government sharing of information to assess the kinds of threats that are coming into the school distract… and those systems were clearly violated and ignored.” Kayyem said.
“If people are going to have confidence in our safety and security apparatus, we, I used to be part of it, owe it to them to adhere to the processes that get to good judgment calls. Understanding that all the time, these are judgment calls,” she said.
In a press conference yesterday, LA officials claimed they stood by their decision to close the schools and would rather have been safe than sorry, Kayyem says.
“If we lived in a world where we were better safe than sorry we would all be at home with helmets on… watching CNN, Fox, and NBC, hoping it’s good news,” Kayyem said.
“There are risks all the time and there are processes to assess that risk.”
Listen to the complete interview with Juliette Kayyem above.