Police say threat against Jewish Community Day School unfounded
A threat was made Tuesday against the Jewish Community Day School in Providence, just a week after a separate threat happened at the Jewish Community Center down the street.
Police responded to the area, looking for a male caller who claimed to have an assault rifle on the school's roof.
The threat targeted about 80 students, including kindergartners all the way up to fifth graders.
"I think everyone is a little bit shaken, and a little bit worried with what is going on,” said Adam Tilov , who is the head of Jewish Community Day School.
Authorities said a man called the receptionist, who recently had training on how to respond to the situation in the wake of threats made against Jewish organizations across the country.
"It's a terrible thing to be receiving these threats,” Tilov said.
Police said she remained calm on the phone, tried to get as much information as possible from the caller while keeping him on the line as 911 was called.
Authorities showed up and swept the building with K-9s. They checked the roof, but found nothing out of the ordinary at the school, which is located on Taft Avenue.
"It's sickening for me, as an American and as a police officer, for many years, to have people in our community targeting and trying to instill fear,” said Rhode Island Commissioner of Public Safety Steven Pare.
Tilov said it's the first major threat they've received.
"It's a messed up time in the country,” said Tilov. “And it's hard to be Jewish."
There were no evacuations during the process. Although the students inside saw a lot of commotion, they didn't know what exactly was happening.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza told NBC 10 News outside the school that he won't let the anti-sematic threats become “the new normal” for Providence.
“Yet again another anti-sematic act in our city. We denounce it in every which way,” said Elorza. "There is no room for hate in our community.”
Authorities are still working to trace the phone call. They did not immediately know if the call was made locally.
"We don't know whether folks are coordinating or whether it's copy-cats,” said Elorza. “There's a lot of sick people out there."
Pare shared similar sentiments.
“There's a lot of hatred out there and we're going to do everything to combat it and prevent it,” said Pare.
Police said they'll maintain a presence at the building throughout the day.
"Children are working rigorously, and at the same time finding joy and pleasure of learning and being Jewish,” said Tilov. “And none of that is going to change because of this."