A 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of making a terroristic threat for his role in a series of racist threats made against black Arbor View High School students on Instagram.
The teen is accused of helping his 14-year-old co-defendant, the Instagram account creator, write photo captions that threatened to “cleanse” the school’s hallways of black students in a “Columbine pt. 2.” The threats were posted with candid photos of nine black students, and the account’s username included a racist slur.
Both teens originally were charged with making a terroristic threat, conspiring to commit an act of terrorism, cyberbullying, hate crimes and breach of peace, but they were offered a plea deal this month.
The 14-year-old accepted the deal and was sentenced April 12 by Juvenile Court Judge William Voy to a juvenile facility, followed by at least 36 months of probation. The 15-year-old, who remains in juvenile custody, is set to be sentenced on Friday.
In addition to his parents, who were seated directly behind him, about a dozen people attended Monday’s hearing, some of them wearing T-shirts that read “No Racism In Schools #1865.”
The mother of one of the victims, Akiko Cooks, said she hoped to see “reform” in the teens, and to see their parents held accountable.
“We are in 2019. It’s not 1865,” Cooks said. “I think it would be nice if they at least show some compassion, because they don’t. They scowl at us like we did something to them, when their children are the ones who actually threatened to kill ours.”
Cooks said the mothers of the victims, who did not know each other prior to the threats, have launched a campaign to end racism in schools.
“We definitely have a story to tell,” she said. “Overnight, we had to learn to communicate, trust one another and love one another. And we have actually become one another’s support system … because I don’t think anyone can understand, except us.”
The group’s Facebook page, which touted a mission to “foster hate free educational environments nationwide for all kids, creating zero tolerance,” had garnered 565 followers since its creation three weeks ago.
Parents of the 15-year-old left the hearing without speaking to reporters.
Brigid Duffy, Clark County’s chief juvenile prosecutor, has said that the 15-year-old had access to at least three firearms at home. Police confiscated them.
The teen has been in custody since the pair’s arrest on March 19.
On April 12, the 15-year-old’s attorney, J.D. Evans, had asked the judge for more time to review school police body camera footage of the teen’s interview with investigators following his arrest. Evans said he had just received the last batch of the footage, which totaled more than four hours, that morning.
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