Social media posts with n-word, gun lead to 8th graders’ arrests

Three male juveniles were arrested at Middletown Middle School after posting racist threats on social media.

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Three Maryland middle school students are facing hate crimes charges after threatening to shoot Black students.

As reported by KCRG, the incident occurred at Middletown Middle School in Frederick County, where the three male juveniles were arrested after posting racist threats on social media.

The news station reported that the boys posted four photos on Instagram and Snapchat showing them holding real and toy weapons along with a message that read, “we’re finally going to shoot some (n-word)” and “slaves ran away.”

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NBC Washington showed the social media posts which included what appeared to be a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag suspended from the ceiling and a caption that read, “we finna shoot some (n-word).”

Friday morning, a crowd of close to 100 students, parents and community members gathered near the school with purple balloons, representing the school color, the NBC station reported. One held a sign that read “Fear has no place in shool.”

Officials determined that the images, taken in January or February, promoted “hate speech and the threat of violence toward Black students,” the school system tweeted. 

The school was not on lockdown when Frederick County deputies and resource officers detained the boys on Wednesday during school after they learned about the threats, according to the KCRG. The sheriff’s office said it “took the proper steps to ensure the school and Middletown community was safe.” 

“Furthermore, deputies conducted searches of the involved student’s bedrooms and accounted for all firearms. It was determined that several of the firearms pictured were fake,” authorities told NBC Washington. “At this point, the suspects will be treated as juveniles and as such their names and other identifying information will not be released.”

The boys were with their parents when they were questioned by the officers. They are now prohibited from returning to the campus after facing hate crimes charges pending the investigation. 

“They threatened to commit a crime of assault, so they’re threatening assault by the wording in the post against the African American community,” Lt. Jason Deater with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said, according to NBC “So that’s what elevated it to the hate crime, motivated in whole or substantial part by the group’s race.”

“These kids are serious about what they’re saying,” Perez added. 

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