Los Angeles schools reopen after threat prompted closure

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the sequester after a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House in Washington March 1, 2013. Obama pressed the U.S. Congress on Friday to avoid a government shutdown when federal spending authority runs out on March 27, saying it is the "right thing to do." REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)

LOS ANGELES – Public schools in Los Angeles reopened on Wednesday, a day after local officials canceled classes for all 640,000 students in the nation’s second-largest school district over a threatened attack with bombs and guns that was later deemed a hoax.

Returning high school students found themselves thrown back into the throes of final exams as the semester ended, with police providing a stepped up presence at campuses to reassure those left jittery by the unprecedented shutdown.

Authorities conducted an extensive search on Tuesday of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s more than 1,000 schools, and said that by late in the day the buildings were safe and students could return. The investigation to find the sender of the emailed threat continued on Wednesday.

The email, which authorities said was routed through Germany but likely originated locally, came nearly two weeks after a married couple inspired by Islamic State fatally shot 14 people and wounded 22 others at a county office building 60 miles (100 km) away in San Bernardino.

A similar email was sent to New York City’s public schools, though officials dismissed it as a hoax and kept campuses open.

The regular morning bustle was in full display at Venice High School on Wednesday as school buses dropped off students and other children spilled out of parents’ cars.

“I feel my daughter is totally safe at school today,” said Trish Halfacre, dropping off her 14-year-old. Halfacre said she backed the officials who ordered the closure.

“Better safe than sorry,” she said.