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Several School Districts Received Same Threat That Prompted L.A. School Closures

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) - New York City officials say they and many cities across the country received the same threat that closed the Los Angeles school system.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Tuesday that the threat came in the form of a "generic" email and that New York officials quickly concluded that it wasn't credible.

Los Angeles Unified School District officials say they closed all of the system's more than 900 schools and 187 public charter schools as a precaution. Superintendent Ramon Cortines said the threat was "conveyed not to one school, but many schools in the district. Details talked about backpacks, other packages."

A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said the threat involved bombs in students' backpacks. The official wasn't authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation and insisted on anonymity.

During a press conference Tuesday, district police Chief Steven Zipperman said the threat was still being evaluated. Schools would remain closed until the threat was cleared, which officials said could happen by the end of the day.

"We need the cooperation of the whole of Los Angeles today," said school board President Steve Zimmer. "We need families and neighbors to work together with our schools and with our employees to make sure our schools are safe throughout today."

District Superintendent Ramon Cortines said the Dec. 2 attack in nearby San Bernardino that left 14 people dead influenced the decision.

He would not detail the threat but described it generally as a "message." He says the schools commonly get threats, but called this one rare.

Cortines said the district police chief informed him about the threat shortly after 5 a.m.

"He shared with me that some of the details talked about backpacks, talked about other packages," said Cortines, who would not elaborate.

An FBI official told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton that the FBI is assisting the Los Angeles Police Department in the investigation.

"This is a rare threat. We get threats all the time," Cortines said while emphasizing that the threat was directed only at LAUSD schools, but not any specific campus.

The district, the second-largest in the nation, has 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade and more than 900 schools and 187 public charter schools.

The district spans 720 square miles including Los Angeles and all or part of more than 30 smaller cities and some unincorporated areas.

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