Parents in Oakland, California say they’re concerned and a little bit uneasy after a rope resembling a noose was discovered outside a local elementary school on Friday — the second in just three weeks.
According to ABC 7, the latest rope was found hanging from the fence of a batting cage on the side of Chabot Elementary School. A parent told police her child had found a similar rope near the school on Aug. 21 and tossed it to the fence.
The Oakland Unified School District later reported that incident as an “accident,” the outlet reported.
This second sighting, however, has evoked strong emotions from many parents, some of whom fear the school is being targeted.
“There is no other way to associate a noose,” said Mark Dubois, whose son just started kindergarten at Chabot this week. “The noose is targeting the African American community.”
““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?” he asked local station KPIX 5.
Oakland resident Jason Dobert agreed, saying the noose sightings have left the community “a little on edge.”
“We don’t have too many issues going on here and everybody seems pretty neighborly and nice,” said Dobert. “It’s definitely concerning, considering that this is an elementary school with children.”
John Sasaki, a spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District, decried the noose as a symbol “of the ugly history we have in America,” and added that Oakland police are investigating the circumstances around the second rope. The school district’s public safety department, as well as the FBI, have also gotten involved, he said.
“Our police have been on it, the FBI has come in and looked at that and the other incident,” Sasaski told KPIX.
So far, officials said they haven’t found any evidence of a hate crime.
Little league coaches who frequent the batting cages suggested there might be another explanation for the ropes.
“They have seen young people climbing up on top of that batting cage to just hang out, and they think that maybe that rope was used to go up and come down,” Sasaki added.
The school district has emphasized that it’s taking the incident seriously and that support services are being offered to anyone stressed out by the situation. Sasaki said the district is also beefing up police patrols at the school.
The incident remains under investigation.
Watch more in the clip below.