Frederick Co. school leaders ‘disgusted’ over online threats against Black students

Public school leaders in Frederick County, Maryland, have expressed disgust and outrage after threats were made against Black students on social media.

“(Frederick County Public Schools) has no tolerance for discriminatory language and hate speech,” said Mike Markoe, the county’s interim superintendent.

Sheriff’s deputies and school resource officers responded to Middletown Middle School on Wednesday morning after violent threats against Black students had been posted on Instagram and Snapchat.

Images on those posts included racial slurs and what appeared to be firearms.

In a tweet, FCPS said a social media post “containing hate speech and the threat of violence toward Black students” had been distributed.

Investigators said they identified the students involved, searched their bedrooms and determined that the firearms in the photos were fake.

As of Thursday morning, it was not clear whether any charges would be filed in the case.

Deputies said that the photos were taken during January or February and later shared on social media.

“I’m sorry, but those kids cannot be in our schools,” said Jay Mason, a member of the Frederick County Board of Education. “Images like that are disgusting and if we say we aren’t going to tolerate it, then we shouldn’t tolerate it.”

Mason, who is Black, said he was particularly affected by the incident.

“Some of you have no idea what it’s like to see that,” said Mason. “You can’t feel what I feel.”

Board member Liz Barrett added she wanted to express her “disgust and heartbreak” over “the hate speech” that had occurred.

Another member of the board, Sue Johnson, said her feelings were “nothing short of disgust and frustration.”

Deputies worked with county schools early Wednesday to identify the suspects and ensure the school was safe. Middletown Middle School was not evacuated, put on lockdown or lockout status.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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