Authorities in Oakland, California, are investigating a bomb threat at Chabot Elementary School that occurred on Tuesday morning, following a weekend event aimed at fostering racial inclusion. The threat led to the evacuation of the school, affecting 30 students and staff members who were on campus at the time.
Oakland Police Capt. Lisa Ausmus confirmed that officers responded to the K-5 school, located at 6686 Chabot Road in the Rockridge neighborhood, around 7:30 a.m. The threat was emailed to the school's principal and contained racial undertones. “I will say that the email had some racial undertones in it. And 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,” Ausmus said.
The timing of the bomb threat coincides with a series of inflammatory social media posts and hateful emails after the school community organized a playdate for BIPOC families. The event was intended to foster racial equity and build community for children of color in a predominantly white and affluent neighborhood. However, the playdate drew backlash from some community members, with accusations of reverse racism.
Tamila Jackson, a parent at Chabot Elementary and a member of the school's equity and inclusion group, revealed the extent of the backlash. “They decided to start emailing us threats, asked if we wanted a race war, it was something mentioned of being locked in chains and released back in the jungle where we belong,” Jackson said in an interview with KTVU News.
This event also highlighted a conservative social media account, Libs of TikTok, which tweeted about the playdate and called the school “racist against white people.” This account has a history of inspiring death threats and harassment against various targets, including schools, individual teachers, and public events.
The Oakland Unified School District took immediate action upon receiving the threats. “The District first learned of these threatening messages yesterday, shortly before noon. We immediately contacted the Oakland Police Department (OPD) which began preparing an internal intelligence report and sent officers to the school before classes let out for the day,” said schools' superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell.
The incident at Chabot Elementary is not an isolated event. The video report mentioned that the Mary L. Stevens Davis Library in Davis, California, also received a series of bomb threats after ejecting a group of supporters of the right-wing Moms for Liberty. These threats were filled with anti-LGBTQ slurs, and students at nearby schools had to shelter in place.
Experts weigh in on the pattern of such threats. There's a calculated risk taken by those who engage in these acts. They measure law enforcement's willingness to take these threats seriously and also consider the legal consequences, which are often minimal.
The Mayor's Office has committed to maintaining police presence near the school for the remainder of the week. District and city leaders, along with school administration, will host a community town hall next week to discuss the incident and future safety measures.