Racially-motivated threats prompted Oakland school closure following social event

"For us to be receiving these threats and our kids to feel like they're targets, it's a big problem."

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Racially-motivated threats prompted Oakland school closure
Chabot Elementary School in Oakland was evacuated Tuesday morning after a bomb threat, police say.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Chabot Elementary School in Oakland was evacuated Tuesday morning after a bomb threat, police say.

There remained a heavy police presence around the school until around noon.

According to an email from the Chabot Elementary School's principal, the threats were racially motivated in response to play date social for students of color over the weekend.

The principal says this is the threat which Chabot Elementary School received Monday morning:

"Hi there you racist pieces of sh**! Just wanted to stop by and let you know that if you keep this sh** up we're going to put you back in chains or in the jungle where you belong. Go ahead and keep pushing for segregation. If you want a race war we'll f***ing give you one and you won't like how it ends. Have a wonderful day :)"

"For us to be receiving these threats and our kids to feel like they're targets, it's a big problem," Tamila Jackson, a parent said.

This, sparking an evacuation of the school at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Because it was before school hours, there were only about 30 students inside.

Other families arriving for student drop-off, were quickly turned away.

"And to pull up this morning and have my son rushed back to the car as if he was a target, it just made everything more magnified," Jackson said.

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Jackson says the threats started to roll in after the school's Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosted a 'Play Date Social' for Black, brown and AAPI students over the weekend.

She says their original flyer was apparently posted to Reddit.

"The social isn't to exclude any students at all, it's to bring the small minority of students that are of color together," she said.

One parent on the committee who did not want her name used, explains the purpose of that play date.

"It was meant to bridge communities between Black and brown families, share resources, and also to make the kids feel comfortable seeing other kids and playing with other kids that look like them in a predominantly white space," she said.

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Capt. Lisa Ausmus, a spokesperson for the Oakland Police Department says police were notified of the threat sent by email on Tuesday morning just before 7:30 a.m.

"I will say that the email had some racial undertones in it and we are currently investigating that right now," Ausmus said. "We have asked the FBI and they're going to come in and assist us with this investigation but that's all I'm going to put out for right now."

The FBI is also involved in the investigation, released this statement:

"The FBI remains vigilant and continues to work closely with our law enforcement partners on a state and local level. The FBI asks members of the public to maintain awareness of their surroundings and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement."

Even neighbors were sent the same letter as parents from the Principal, alerting them of the racially motivated threat.

"Furious, I was angry," Karen Ivy, a neighbor said. "If I were them, I would be nervous, you never know when you have somebody like the guy that shot up three people in Jacksonville, Florida."

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Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said in statement: "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 and Oakland Police as we seek answers."

Police cleared the scene and staff was allowed back inside of the Chabot Elementary School around noon. But classes for students were cancelled for the rest of the day.

As for tomorrow, some parents are hesitant to send their kids back.

"I don't feel safe bringing him to school tomorrow. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know how long these cars will last here, people are not in their right minds during this time. And I don't know if I'll bring him tomorrow, the next day or the day after that," a parent who did not want her name used said.

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