After a threatening phone message on Thursday, the Oklahoma School for the Deaf in Sulphur is temporarily closed.
School staff heard the message at 12:22 p.m. after returning from lunch. The school contacted Sulphur Police Department, who then contacted the FBI who are now investigating the threat.
“There’s a contingent of law enforcement meeting with our key staff,” Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services Communications Director Jody Harlan said.
Harlan said the incident is likely connected with the harassment of a 12-year-old transgender student at Achille Public Schools that became national news last week. Throughout the weekend, OSD received multiple Facebook comments, messages and emails regarding a specific OSD employee.
“One of the School for the Deaf staff is the spouse of someone who allegedly posted a
comment about the student,” Harlan said.
Throughout the week, OSD responded to Facebook comments, stating that the school did not condone discrimination and would look into the situation. Harlan said the uptick in activity began on Saturday and the school began responding on Sunday.
“We’ll take appropriate action based on evidence,” Harlan said. “Right now, no action has been taken, nobody has been fired and we’re still looking into this.”
Thursday’s threatening phone call named the employee and stated that the school would be in “grave danger” if the employee was not fired within 48 hours.
The school is not currently in session. Enrollment, which was previously scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed until further notice. School was slated to start August 20, but enrollment and weekend activities have been halted. Harlan said the school’s administration has not yet determined when to resume classes.
Harlan said OSD and its parent agency, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, does not tolerate discrimination.