© 2024 KOSU
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tulsa elementary school cancels classes due to 'suspicious circumstances'

 A sign outside of Walt Disney Elementary School located at 11702 E. 25th St. in Tulsa.
Elizabeth Caldwell
A sign outside of Walt Disney Elementary School located at 11702 E. 25th St. in Tulsa.

Tulsa Public Schools notified parents Thursday morning that Disney Elementary was closed “out of an abundance of caution.”

Later, TPS said the police response was prompted by a custodian who discovered “unidentified materials” outside the school. By mid-morning, the Tulsa Police Department determined there was no credible threat and issued an all-clear.

The suspicious items in question, including a number of yellow plastic canisters that apparently had been the subject of some circulated photos, were found to be misplaced construction materials.

The closure is the first so far related to a string of bomb threats that have been plaguing the district. Those bomb threats are linked to a social media post from a far-right group. The post was shared by State Superintendent Ryan Walters just after the first bomb threat last week.

Neither TPD nor TPS responded immediately to a request for comment on how anxiety around the bomb threats is related to the closure of Disney Elementary.

Here are the statements from TPS. The first was sent around 7:30 a.m. Thursday:

Tulsa Police Department is on the scene at Disney Elementary this morning investigating suspicious circumstances. We are suspending school for today out of an abundance of caution for our school community. Safety of our students and families is of the utmost importance. TPD and other authorities are continuing to investigate, and we will provide an update when we have further information. Staff will report to the school's relocation site, Christview Christian Church at 2525 S Garnett. If your child has been dropped off or is in route, they will be kept safe at this relocation site.

The second was sent around 11 a.m. Thursday:

Tulsa Public Schools has received the all-clear from law enforcement after earlier suspicious circumstances led to the precautionary closure of Disney Elementary School for today, August 31. Law enforcement has been actively involved since early this morning, when a custodian discovered unidentified materials outside the school during the course of their standard duties. We appreciate their care in immediately alerting Team Tulsa security and leadership. Our team promptly implemented safety protocols, alerting local authorities and the Disney Elementary school community, and closing the school to students for the day. Tulsa Police Department and Tulsa Public Schools Campus Police conducted exterior and interior sweeps of the Disney Elementary building and concluded there was no threat present. Law enforcement determined the suspicious materials detected this morning were construction materials inadvertently stored in an unapproved location. This includes the yellow plastic canisters circulated in images from outside the Disney building this morning.

After law enforcement issued the all-clear, teachers and other team members have returned to the building and are preparing to welcome students tomorrow. Disney will open and operate on a normal schedule for Friday, September 1.

Tulsa Public Schools is making grab-and-go meals available to Disney students outside the school from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm today, August 31.

We appreciate the rapid support of law enforcement and our team this morning. We will miss seeing our Disney students today and recognize the disruption this represents for everyone involved. We thank you for partnering with us in prioritizing the safety of our school community and your children.

The district did not receive any threatening message this morning and at no time was there any indication that the concern should extend to other Tulsa Public Schools locations.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher
KOSU is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.
Related Content