A white South Carolina teen is facing charges after authorities uncovered a series of racist videos and text messages espousing hatred and threatening violence against African-Americans.
The 16-year-old, a former student at Cardinal Newman High School in Richland County, threatened to “shoot up the school” last spring and filmed himself firing a shotgun and automatic rifle to demonstrate his antipathy for Blacks, according to The State. Local authorities charged him with making student threats, and he was expelled July 15.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said his office took the student’s threats seriously after learning of the racist texts and videos officials said had been circulated among students.
“It was brought to our attention that videos were being distributed among students,’’ Lott told the paper. “We worked very closely with the school to identify the students involved. We take all threats seriously. This is just an example of how schools and law enforcement can work together to quickly address threats and perceived threats to schools and students.”
In one of the clips, the unnamed student describes himself as a “hater of all Black men” and uses the N-word multiple times. He then pretends an object on the floor is an African-American and shoots it repeatedly with his guns.
“Thank you for watching my PSA. F–k all n—–s,” he looks into the camera and says.
An initial text and video uncovered by officials at the Catholic school also found the teen making remarks and pretending to shoot Black people. An incident report stated that the teen used a derogatory term for African–Americans and said how much he hated them, describing them as “stinky.” That, along with another video, lead Cardinal Newman to expel him.
Just two days after his expulsion, police discovered multiple other videos, including ones in which the teenager claimed he was “on his way to shoot up the school.”
This “constitutes the crime of student threats,’’ according to the sheriff’s department incident report. The law explicitly prohibits a student from making threats to kill or to inflict bodily harm upon someone else via any form of communication.
According to The State, the threatening texts and videos came at a time of increased national concern about school safety. So far this year, there have been 22 shootings at American schools this year in which someone was hurt or killed, according to a recent report by CNN. An April shooting at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte left two people dead and four others injured when a gunman opened fire on the last day of classes.
On Friday, officials with the Catholic Diocese of Charleston said the school immediately contacted local police after learning of the student’s videos and his threats to “shoot up” the school. They also sent a letter home to parents alerting them to the incident.
“Because the threat was promptly addressed by school officials and the authorities, the risk to the school community was neutralized,” Cardinal Newman officials said in a statement.
“Safety and respect for the dignity of all is a top priority at Cardinal Newman School,” it continued. “Administrators take extensive measures to ensure that the school building is secure at all times and they immediately contact law enforcement if they feel there is a potential threat against school students or staff.”