A CHILDREN’S PLAYDATE EVENT last weekend at an Oakland school has prompted a bomb threat against the school, according to the Oakland Unified School District

Chabot Elementary School in Oakland hosted a playdate on Saturday for children of color. The playdate was meant to build and promote positive relationships among the students. 

But at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, the school’s principal emailed Oakland police telling them of the threat. Officers responded and children and school employees were taken to a field near the school until a bomb squad deemed the campus safe.

“I am outraged that our children, educators and neighbors have been targeted by malicious threats,” Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said Tuesday on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter). “My office is in contact with Oakland Unified School District @OUSDNews and @oaklandpoliceca as we seek answers.”

Thao said her office is “monitoring the situation closely.”

Racially motivated

Following the playdate, some people took to social media to denounce the event, including one post with more than 17,000 “likes” that described the school as “racist against white people.”

Oakland Unified School District superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said in a statement released Tuesday that since the playdate, members of the school community have received emails and calls that are threatening and racist.

School district officials first learned of the threatening messages Monday at about noon. District officials got in touch with police, who began preparing an intelligence report. Police sent officers to the school Monday before classes ended, Johnson-Trammell said. 

A school district safety team was at the school Tuesday morning.

More than half of the children at Chabot Elementary School identify as children of color. The playdate is “one of many examples of the important work we do for equity and inclusion across the District,” Johnson-Trammell said. 

Immediately following the bomb threat, students and school employees were taken to the baseball field adjacent to the school. The threat came before the school day started, so only about 30 students were on campus, police said.

Parents who were dropping of their children were told to take them home.

The FBI is involved with the investigation into the bomb threat, police said Tuesday. Thao will maintain a police presence near the school for the rest of the week. 

Chabot Elementary School was expected to open Wednesday. A town hall is planned for next week for the community. City, school and school district officials will be present. 

Police said they are also investigating a hate speech incident that may be connected to the bomb threat.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.