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Bomb Threat At Chicago Jewish Day School Called 'Telephone Terrorism'

By Linze Rice | March 7, 2017 10:21am | Updated on March 7, 2017 2:35pm
 A Jewish school on Chicago's North Side was evacuated Tuesday morning after a bomb threat, police said.
Edgewater Bomb Threat
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CHICAGO — Class is back in session following a bomb threat at a Jewish school on Chicago's North Side Tuesday morning.

At 9:10 a.m., police responded to a bomb threat that had been called into the Chicago Jewish Day School, a private Jewish school in the 5900 block of North Sheridan Road. 

Upon receiving the threat, school officials evacuated the premises, police said. 

According to the school's website, its student body consists of about 200 pupils from kindergarten to eighth grade.

Chicago Police Department K-9 units were on the scene throughout the morning, and by 10:50 a.m. the property had been rendered safe by police. 

Students were allowed to re-enter the school.

Around 10:45 a.m., a woman who identified herself to police as being with the school was allowed to cross red police tape to speak with officers before being driven from the scene in a police car.

By 11 a.m., traffic around the school and its buildings was still restricted on Sheridan Road between Hollywood, Thorndale and Granville. 

Rabbi Craig Marantz of Emanuel Congregation, where the school is located, released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying he was thankful the situation ended safely and the threat was "unsubstantiated."

“We are first and foremost thankful that all of the students, staff and everyone who was in the building at the time were evacuated safely and no one was harmed as a result of this threat," the rabbi said. "After a thorough search of the building, the threat was found to be unsubstantiated."

Marantz said the school takes threats "extremely seriously" and would continue to work with local and federal investigators to determine the origin of the threat.

Still, the scare was an unwelcome reminder of a number of threats and violent acts made to Jewish centers and Jewish cemeteries across the country, Marantz said. 

"We are, of course concerned about the anti-Semitism behind today’s threat, which coincides with a recent surge in bomb threats around the country," he said. "Emanuel Congregation is a community that embraces diversity and religious freedom and we remain vigilant in our stance against this or any type of hate-motivated violence.”

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Jewish Far North Side resident, condemned the incident in a statement Tuesday morning, calling it an act of "telephone terrorism."

“The latest instance of anti-Semitic ‘telephone terrorism’ was committed this morning, targeting a Jewish day school not too far from my district office,” Schakowsky said. “I am monitoring the situation closely and offer my full support to the community during this troubling time. I will support law enforcement in their investigation, and hope that justice will be brought swiftly to the perpetrator of this heinous act. Anti-Semitism, in all of its ugly forms, is unacceptable and has no place in our country today.”

One neighbor, who has lived at Thorndale and Kenmore avenues for 16 years, said she was appalled at the news that the school had received a bomb threat. 

"Who would do this? This should not be happening," said the woman, who asked not to be named. 

She said whoever is behind the threat are "cowards, I mean real cowards. These people have to be caught."

This is a developing story. 

A woman who told police she worked at the Chicago Jewish Day School. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

Police and K9 officers stand outside the Chicago Jewish Day School in the 5900 block of North Sheridan Avenue that was evacuated Tuesday morning. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

Chicago Jewish Day School students were allowed to return the building by 11 a.m. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

One of the Chicago Jewish Day School's buildings [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]