Teen arrested over ‘ethnic cleansing’ threat that closed Charlottesville schools for 2 days
ogolne/iStock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — A 17-year-old male was arrested over race-based threats against the Charlottesville school system, local police say.
The Virginia city’s public schools were closed for two days — Thursday and Friday — in light of the threats that were made online.
Charlottesville police announced Friday they had arrested a juvenile in connection to the online threats. He is being charged with one felony and one misdemeanor.
The police gave few details about the threats in question, announcing only that they were alerted to the “biased-based language targeting specific ethnic groups” at the public high school on Wednesday afternoon.
At a subsequent news conference, Charlottesville City Schools superintendent Rosa Atkins said that the teen was not a student at the school.
She said that the individual was “a person who is not a part of the Charlottesville school system and community” and added that he made the “hateful threat… under the guise of being a Charlottesville high school student.”
Rashall Brackney, the chief of the Charlottesville Police Department, said at the news conference that the threats “referenced ethnic cleansing.”
The entire public school system — which includes seven elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one education program for young patients at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital — was closed on Thursday and Friday.
“We do not tolerate hate or racism. The entire staff and School Board stand in solidarity with our students of color — and with people who have been singled out for reasons such as religion or ethnicity or sexual identity in other vile threats made across the country or around the world. We are in this together, and a threat against one is a threat against all,” the school board said in a statement announcing the closure.
This is not the city’s first brush with race-based issues. Charlottesville was the site of the deadly Unite the Right rally in 2017 where groups of white supremacists and counter protesters clashed on the streets.
Atkins said that the schools will be open on Monday.
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