OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — There is growing concern among parents in Oakland as the school district sends out a warning about a second rope that resembles a noose found near Chabot Elementary in the past three weeks.
The first rope was found a few weeks ago on the fence of Chabot Elementary School in Rockridge. It was investigated as a hate crime, but a student came forward and said he found the rope on the ground and tried to throw it back onto school grounds, but it got caught up on the fence.
A second rope tied in a loop was discovered Friday at the city-owned baseball fields behind the school, intentionally tied to the batting cages.
Parents told KPIX 5 the incidents are bringing up a lot of emotions.
“There is no other way to associate a noose. The noose is targeting the African American community,” said Mark Dubois. His son Julian just started kindergarten at Chabot Elementary a few weeks ago, and after hearing about a second incident involving a rope near the school, he is concerned.
“If this school is being targeted, do you really want to be here and wait for this person to take it to the next level?” asked Dubois.
“We take anything that is an affront to any member of our community very seriously and certainly, whether it was intentional or not in both cases, it does bring up these feelings about nooses and the history of this country that we call home,” said John Sasaki, the spokesperson for Oakland Unified School District.
Oakland Police and the school district’s police department are investigating the latest incident, which was discovered around lunch time on Friday.
“Our police have been on it, the FBI has come in and looked at that and the other incident and in both cases, the FBI said they don’t have enough evidence to show it was a hate crime as far as they are concerned,” says Sasaki.
The FBI would not confirm the investigation to KPIX, citing Department of Justice Policy.
At the batting cages on Sunday, there were still remnants of the rope that was tied above the door.
Some of the Little League coaches who are at the fields all the time say there could be another explanation other than hate.
“They have seen young people climbing up on top of that batting cage to just hang out, should we say, and they think that maybe that rope was used to go up and come down,” explained Sasaki.
Parents say even if the two rope incidents aren’t connected and neither were hate crimes, the knotted ropes still brings up a lot of emotions.
“It causes so much fear and anxiety and gut punches. This is a terrible feeling,” said Eve Isbelle, who has children in 3rd and 4th grades at Chabot,” said Eve Isbelle, a Chabot Elementary parent.
Some parents even hung handmade signs on the fence outside the school.
“Those signs are all about the message we are intending to send to the community and to the people who come into this school,” said Dubois.
The school district stressed that it is taking both of the incidents seriously and the investigations are still active. Anyone with information about the cases should contact the Oakland Police Department.
Oakland Unified School Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammel will be at Chabot Elementary Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. along with the School District’s Police Chief to talk with parents and answer questions.