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Chabot Elementary School in Oakland shut down following bomb threat with "racial undertones"

Authorities: Online backlash over playdate leads to bomb threat at Chabot Elementary in Oakland
Authorities: Online backlash over playdate leads to bomb threat at Chabot Elementary in Oakland 03:08

OAKLAND -- Chabot Elementary School in Oakland was evacuated and classes were canceled Tuesday after the school received bomb threats and threatening emails over a recent event.

The bomb threat was received at about 7:30 a.m. before the school day started, Oakland Police said. Only a few dozen students and staffers were present when police evacuated the school, located at 6686 Chabot Road in the city's Rockridge neighborhood.

Police were working with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and the office's K-9 and bomb teams units to sweep the school and clear the campus.

Chabot Elementary School
Police vehicles outside of Chabot Elementary School in Oakland, August 29, 2023. KPIX

The email sent to the school principal had "racial undertones," but an Oakland Police spokesperson would not elaborate further on the content of the email. Police were also working with the FBI to determine the source of the email.

Capt. Lisa Ausmus told reporters there were other bomb threats issued at individual residences but did not provide details, only saying the threats were not at students' or parents' homes.

Watch: Oakland Police update on bomb threat at Chabot Elementary School 03:40

In an update Tuesday afternoon, police said they were also investigating a "hate speech incident" and any possible connection to the bomb threat made against the school.  

The school has been the recent target of negative social media posts following a reported gathering at the school Saturday for Black, Brown and AAPI families, with critics of the gathering characterizing the event as a "no whites allowed" playdate.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, the notorious far-right and anti-LGBTQ Libs of TikTok account on Monday called the school "racist against white people." 

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the Oakland Unified School District said, "This playdate aimed to create an affinity space where Black, Brown, and API families can build and sustain connection and belonging at the school. It's one of many examples of the important work we do for equity and inclusion across the District."

OUSD said Chabot is a diverse school community with more than half of the student population identifying as students of color.

"This incident, along with multiple threatening emails, phone calls and social media posts are being taken seriously by Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Police Department. The FBI is also now involved in this active investigation," the district went on to say.

The school's website was down Tuesday morning and was still unavailable as of 2 p.m. Aerial footage showed a heavy police presence outside and on the campus.

"I am outraged that our children, educators and neighbors have been targeted by malicious threats," said Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao in a post on X.

OUSD said Tuesday afternoon that the school has been cleared for reopening on Wednesday. District and city leaders, along with school administration will hold a town hall next week.

"We plan to welcome students, staff and families back to the Chabot campus tomorrow with coordinated safety and mental health support in place," the district said.    

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