A Rockridge elementary school was forced to close Tuesday after a bomb threat police described as having “a racial undertone,” the day after a prominent right-wing social media account made the inaccurate claim the school had an event that excluded white students.
Disturbing news today from the suburban Oakland community of Rockridge, as the Chronicle reports a bomb threat was directed at Chabot Elementary School, a threat which police describe as having a “racial undertone.” According to KGO, police were made aware of the threat at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, when about 30 students and several faculty were on campus. Parents arriving with students were turned away, and classes were cancelled for the day.
UPDATE: Oakland PD have taken their police tape down and have started to clear the area around Chabot Elementary School following threats made to the school. Staff members have been allowed back inside the building as of 12pm. @abc7newsbayarea pic.twitter.com/VKceYdy3Z9— Lena Howland (@LenaHowland) August 29, 2023
We’ll start with the good news, which is that bomb squads turned up no evidence of explosives on campus. And with a heavy police presence in the area, faculty were allowed back on campus at around noon Tuesday.
Here's the "Libs of Tiktok" post about Chabot Elementary's playdate social event.— Darwin BondGraham (@DarwinBondGraha) August 29, 2023
School leaders say the event's purpose was to welcome more Black and Latino families at a historically mostly white school.
The school has been barraged with racist hate mail and threats. pic.twitter.com/GKqx1kpChR
And now for the ugly stuff. The bomb threat just happened to come the day after a prominent right-wing social media account called Libs of TikTok posted a tweet that’s been retweeted more than 5,000 times alleging that the school “held a race segregated ‘playdate social’ for all students except the white kids.” While the Saturday event in question was billed as being “for Black, Brown & API families,” it did not exclude white students. But somehow, race issues seemed an undercurrent in the yet-undisclosed wording of the threat.
“I will say that the email has a racial undertone in it,” Oakland Police Department Captain Lisa Ausmus said at a Tuesday press conference, according to Oaklandside. “We’re currently investigating that right now. We have asked the FBI and they’re going to come in and assist us with this investigation.”
Oaklandside reports that other residences also received bomb threats, though it was unclear if these were staff or faculty residences.
I am outraged that our children, educators and neighbors have been targeted by malicious threats. My office is in contact with Oakland Unified School District @OUSDNews and @oaklandpoliceca as we seek answers. We are monitoring the situation closely.— Mayor Sheng Thao 盛桃 (@MayorShengThao) August 29, 2023
KRON4 spoke with a co-organizer of the playdate event, who was clear that white students were welcome.
“I find it very concerning that people feel the need to spread the flyer, spread false narratives about it being a ‘whites not allowed’ event,” co-organizer Briana Ohene-Owens told the station. “Nowhere on that flyer did it say that [anyone] was turning anybody away at the door if they were white. Anyone could come, but the space was meant for Black, brown and Asian families."
According to Oaklandside, Chabot Elementary is one of three schools participating in a pilot program effort to diversify their student bodies.
KGO adds FBI is also investigating the matter, and the bureau released a statement Tuesday attesting to such.
"The FBI remains vigilant and continues to work closely with our law enforcement partners on a state and local level,” the statement said. “The FBI asks members of the public to maintain awareness of their surroundings and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement."
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