Chabot Elementary School in Oakland, California, was placed on lockdown on Tuesday morning due to a bomb threat, according to the Oakland Police Department (OPD). The threat was called in before school started, prompting the deployment of officers from multiple agencies and K-9 units to the school. The campus was cordoned off with police tape as a precautionary measure.
Students who were already on the campus were safely reunited with their parents, as confirmed by OPD Capt. Lisa Ausmus. The bomb threat triggered an investigation by OPD and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office K-9 bomb dogs were brought in to assist. However, no explosive device was found on the premises.
The incident appears to be related to a social media backlash against Chabot Elementary School, stemming from a “Playdate Social for Black, Brown and API families” event. The event, organized by the Chabot Equity & Inclusion Committee, aimed to create a positive affinity space for students and families of color. However, false narratives and misinformation about the event being “whites not allowed” were spread on social media.
The school and organizers of the playdate event have reported receiving hate mail and continuous calls, with the school’s address being shared online. The bomb threat, which had “racial undertones,” is now being investigated as a hate crime, according to Capt. Ausmus.
The Oakland Unified School District released a statement explaining that the threats, including the bomb threat, were in response to the Playdate event. The district emphasized that Chabot Elementary School is a diverse community, with over half of the student population identifying as students of color.
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao expressed outrage over the incident and stated that her office is in contact with the Oakland Unified School District and OPD to seek answers. OPD is currently working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine if there is any connection between the bomb threat and a separate hate speech incident.
OPD will maintain a police presence near the school for the remainder of the week, as confirmed by the Oakland Unified School District. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.