updated 10/5/2006 9:24:17 AM ET 2006-10-05T13:24:17

A bomb threat shut down an entire Virginia school district Thursday, canceling classes for more than 7,000 students in eight public schools, as well as hundreds more in area religious schools and child care centers.

Culpeper County Schools spokeswoman Marla McKenna said she couldn’t discuss the content of the threat, which came on the heels of three deadly U.S. school attacks in the span of a week. Culpeper is about 60 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

“You simply cant be too cautious,” said Superintendent David A. Cox. “The safety of our students and our employees is our number one concern.”

Authorities were searching the closed school buildings Thursday for any dangerous materials, McKenna said.

Culpeper Sheriff Lee Hart said that the threat was called in around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday with no specific information about locations except that they involved schools. He declined to release further details.

All of the school district’s staff and employees were told to stay home, though McKenna said a few administrators reported to work to meet parents who might not have heard about the cancellation.

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