Baltimore Sun newsletters: Sign up

Police charge teenager with sending threatening tweet to Arundel High

Police identified suspect who sent threatening tweet

Days after a racist petition celebrating white supremacy circulated among students at Arundel High School, police charged a 14-year-old student of the school with a juvenile citation for posting a threatening message on social media.

County police stationed extra officers at Arundel High School this week after a Twitter account with the handle @KoolkidsKlanKkk posted a tweet that threatened an attack on the school.

Police on Wednesday said they worked with Twitter and local communication vendors to identify the person behind the account and the tweet.

The black student was interviewed with her parents and admitted to creating the account and the post, police said.

She was charged with disruption of school activities.

Superintendent George Arlotto released a statement praising officers and county leaders for supporting school staff through the ordeal.

"The anonymity of the internet provides a murky and complex disguise for many who want to threaten the safety and security of our communities," he said. "Our partners in the Police Department and county government peeled back that disguise quickly in this case, in the process reassuring parents, students, and staff that our schools are safe places in which to educate our children."

Police have said the tweet was likely a reaction to a racist petition that boasted about white supremacy and circulated the high school Friday.

Two students signed the "Kool Kids Klan" petition, which used a racist word to describe black people and referred to degrading stereotypes.

Police consulted with the county State's Attorney's Office and determined no crime was committed in circulating the petition.

School staff disciplined those they found to be involved, school spokesman Bob Mosier said.

On Wednesday night, parents filed into the high school's auditorium for a meeting called by Principal Gina Davenporton Monday about the petition.

A handful of parents spoke to The Capital outside the school just before the meeting, which was closed to the media.

Angie Bryant, of Crofton, said she came for the meeting because she wanted to know the school's position on the petition, which she said is "very concerning" to her.

Bryant, an African American, has a son who is a junior at the school.

"His eyes have kind of opened, I guess, to potential racism," she said. "He never really looked at his peers in that way, and he was very shocked. … I definitely wanted to express to him that he has to keep his eyes open, he has to be vigilant, and we had to have a conversation just about the Ku Klux Klan in general."

Bryant said she hoped to hear the phrase "zero tolerance" from school officials at Wednesday's meeting, and to hear that the consequences for the petition would amount to more than just a slap on the wrist.

She would also like to see changes to the curriculum that incorporate lessons about not just tolerance of other races, but acceptance and a greater understanding, she said.

Robin Schneider Love, the mother of a sophomore at the school, said she was "so disappointed" by the situation, which she called sad.

The Odenton resident, who is white and an alum of Arundel High, said she doesn't think the petition reflects the belief system of anybody else except "maybe some kids" who she hopes were joking.

"This just blew up into this huge racial issue," she said. "Growing up around here, having attended the feeder schools and going to (this) school, that ended in the '70s. It has no place here. It's just so sad."

Both Schneider Love and Bryant said the charges Wednesday against the 14-year-old student connected to the Twitter threat didn't bring much reassurance.

Another parent, K. Williamson, of Gambrills, who met Bryant outside the school before the meeting Wednesday, said school officials should have addressed the entire student body immediately and made clear that any students involved in situations like this one would be held accountable.

"You need to make that clear so you don't have this lag time of people just thinking of ways to jump on the bandwagon, and that's what this looks like," Williamson said of the social media threat that followed the petition. "This looks like it was a situation that the kids didn't take (seriously) because it was never conveyed to them how serious it was. And it is very serious."

Trinity United Methodist Church in Odenton and i5Church in Odenton are planning to hold a prayer gathering outside the school Friday at 7 a.m. in light of the incidents.

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
54°