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Maryland middle-schoolers charged with hate crimes for swastikas, Nazi salutes

Robert Harvey, the state’s attorney for Calvert County, urged adults in the community to “make sure that our children know that religious persecution has no place in our society.”

The view south along Maryland State Route 2 and Maryland State Route 4 (Solomons Island Road) just south of Southern Maryland Boulevard in Calvert County, Md. Credit: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons.
The view south along Maryland State Route 2 and Maryland State Route 4 (Solomons Island Road) just south of Southern Maryland Boulevard in Calvert County, Md. Credit: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons.

The Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office in Maryland has filed hate-crime charges against three 13-year-olds and referred the case to the state’s juvenile services department.

The students attend Plum Point Middle School in Huntingtown in Calvert County, Md., a grade six to eight school an hour southeast of Washington, D.C., along the Chesapeake.

The harassment allegedly began in December by an unidentified peer using swastikas, Nazi salutes and offensive statements. The three charged juveniles refused to stop after multiple requests, prompting the victim to contact the Maryland State Police, who filed the charges.

The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services will move forward with the charges and determine the next steps, which may include an adjudicatory hearing presenting evidence to prove the students’ alleged crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Maryland was founded on the principle of religious toleration. It is frankly astonishing that nearly 400 years later some people continue to persecute others based upon their religion,” said Robert Harvey, the state’s attorney for Calvert County. “I call upon parents, educators and community and faith leaders to make sure that our children know that religious persecution has no place in our society.”

Harvey told JNS that while he could not provide details of the case due to the age of the offenders, “the main difference between the adult justice system and the juvenile is that the juvenile system is oriented toward rehabilitation, whereas the adult includes the punishment component.”

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