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With L.A. schools canceled due to threat, one parent says: ‘It feels like winter break’

Like a child celebrating a snow day, Michael Ramirez skateboarded down the middle of Cypress Avenue in Northeast Los Angeles, popping wheelies and blasting music through white earbuds.

He had been on the way to classes at Lincoln High School when a friend texted that there was no school.

“He said ‘ISIS’ or something,” Ramirez, 18, recalls, using an acronym for the Islamic State militant group. “I’m kinda tired of hearing all this ISIS. It’s annoying. I’ve got finals. But I guess it’s good to take control. Better safe than sorry.”

LIVE UPDATES: Nation’s second-largest district closes all schools

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His plan for the unexpected day off: “Get with some friends; maybe go hit downtown.”

Across the street, at Florence Nightingale Middle School, Principal Rafael Gaeta stood with several administrators and maintenance staff as an LAPD car rolled up.

The driver, who identified himself as Officer Lopez, said LAPD was checking in on all the schools in the district.

“Just to make sure no kids are in school; that there’s nothing suspicious,” he said.

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Gaeta said that with the messages going out on social media and through a phone bank, few students had shown up at the campus that morning, but that a field trip of the school’s music students to local elementary schools had to be called off after the group had already left the school.

At Mount Washington Elementary School, David Bailey and Elizabeth Gerber looked almost giddy as they pretended to toss their 4-year-old daughter, Greta, into their Subaru on Tuesday morning.

They had bought a Craftsman-style house next to the school in August, and were still learning to deal with the near-gridlock on the neighborhood’s winding hillside streets each morning as parents from around Northeast Los Angeles deliver hordes of children to class.

“It feels like winter break,” said Gerber, as her daughter fidgeted in her car seat, waiting for her ride to preschool.

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“You could pull a U-turn this morning,” said Bailey, grinning.

Parents, how are you feeling about the school threats? >>

They’d heard the notice that schools would close on the radio, and were taking this latest intrusion of terrorism into daily life in stride.

“You’re more likely to get hit by a drunk driver,” Bailey said.

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An Australian, Bailey said he lived in London during the Irish Republican Army bombing era. “I hope we don’t move in that direction,” he said.

Twitter: @BobSipchen

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