Washington, Feb 8 (EFE).- A Washington DC school was evacuated on Tuesday during the visit of Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, after a bomb threat was received, local education system officials said.
The second gentleman of the United States was at Dunbar High School participating in a Black History Month event when a Secret Service agent approached him and said “We have to go,” whereupon he was whisked out of the school to his motorcade.
An Emhoff spokeswoman, Katie Peters, later said that Dunbar High alerted the Secret Service about what she called a “security incident or a report of a potential security incident.”
“U.S. Secret Service was made aware of a security threat at a school where the @SecondGentleman was meeting with students and faculty,” Peters tweeted, adding: “Mr. Emhoff is safe and the school has been evacuated. We are grateful to Secret Service and D.C. Police for their work.”
Shortly thereafter, students and teachers at the school were also evacuated and the spokesman for the District of Columbia public school system, Enrique Gutierrez, confirmed that a “bomb threat” had been received.
It is not clear if the incident is related to the wave of bomb threats received in recent days at 17 universities founded to serve the US African American population.
Dunbar High School was the first high school in the US specifically dedicated to teaching black students and thus it is an institution of historical value to African Americans in this country.
Harris’s husband was visiting the school to learn about the project being undertaken by black students to discover links among the personal experiences of their families and the history of the African American population of the US.
School principal Nadine Smith said that the school had followed the protocol it had established to deal with potential threats, namely “to clear the building and move the kids away.”
The DC public school system “just gave us directions to make sure, to go ahead and send the kids home. We won’t be able to clear the building for probably another hour or two,” she added. speaking to reporters covering Emhoff’s visit.
The FBI announced last week that it was investigating the bomb threats against black universities in the US and which are being considered as possible “hate crimes” and “violent extremism” spurred by racial and/or ethnic motivations.
“The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces are leading the investigation into the nationwide series of bomb threats to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and houses of worship,” the FBI said in a Feb. 2 statement. “This investigation is of the highest priority for the Bureau and involves more than 20 FBI field offices across the country. These threats are being investigated as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes.”
The FBI went on to say in its statement that up to that point no explosive devices had been found at any of the institutions receiving the bomb threats.
Years ago, Harris studied at one of the institutions that received bomb threats, Howard University, located in Washington DC.