As far as hoaxes go, this was a real costly deception.
The daylong shut down ordered by the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District came with a hefty price tag — $29 million in state funding, according to the Daily Mail.
An email threat to schools in both Los Angeles and New York City that prompted the decision turned out to be a likely hoax, ABC News reported.
Whoever was behind the threat tipped their hand with the lack of proper grammar, something the East Coast seemingly places a higher premium on than the West Coast.
The hoax was supposedly perpetrated by a bullied Muslim student who’s a fan of the Showtime hit TV program “Homeland,” as the alleged threat is eerily similar to a plot line of the show, according to New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton.
“The instigator of the threat may be a ‘Homeland’ fan,” Bratton told reporters, saying it “mirrors” recent episodes. “This is not a credible threat. This is not something we’re concerned with.”
Three thousand miles away, the Los Angeles Unified School District closed over 900 schools, affecting more than 600,000 students over what Bratton said was “almost exactly the same” email.
The email was allegedly written by someone who claimed to have been bullied at “one of the district high schools” — the school was not identified.
“I am a devout Muslim, and was once against violence, but I have teamed up with a local jihadist cell as it is the only way I’ll be able to accomplish my massacre the correct way,” the email said. “Something big is going down. Something very big. It will make national headlines. Perhaps, even international ones.”
“Every school in the New York City district is being targeted,” the email warned. “We have bombs hidden in lockers already at several schools.”
A likely giveaway for Bratton, according to ABC News, was the inclusion of “nerve gas” as a weapon of choice, which borrows from this season’s “Homeland” story line.
Another giveaway was the improper grammar.
“The language in the email would lead us to believe this is not a jihadist initiative,” Bratton added. “For example, that Allah was not spelled with a capital ‘A’. That would be incredible to think that any jihadist would not spell Allah with a capital ‘A’.”