Northampton County, Pennsylvania’s district attorney announced criminal charges Tuesday against a White Saucon Valley High School teenager who recorded and posted a racist video of a Black classmate on social media, LehighValleyLive.com reports.
District Attorney John Morganelli said the unidentified student, who was 14 at the time of the incident, faces cyber harassment and ethnic intimidation charges.
The student is accused of secretly recording the 16-year-old Black student in the school cafeteria eating chicken wings last October. He used the N-word in the video to describe the Black student, suggested that he’s on welfare, and made other disparaging remarks. The White student later shared the video on Snapchat.
“I found the video to be outrageous, insulting, demeaning and a video that seriously disparages the African-American male’s physical characteristics and specifically his African-American race,” Morganelli said.
However, the district attorney will drop the criminal charges if the White student seeks an “informal adjustment” in juvenile court and completes probationary requirements. What that means is that he’ll likely sit through a racial sensitivity program and do community service.
The Black student, who was previously the target of racist bullying at the school, gets a similar deal. He assaulted the White student in retaliation after seeing the video. The prosecutor charged the Black student earlier with simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.
Attorney Gary Asteak, who represents the Black student, was pleased with the prosecutor’s announcement, saying that hate speech in unacceptable, according to the news outlet.
He added: “By taking action today, the district attorney is sending a message to law enforcement and school officials they must be sensitive to this issue. That teachers and parents are responsible for teaching their children not to hate and to respect others.”
Asteak’s counterpart was less pleased. Attorney Michael Moyer, who represents the White student, is delighted that his client will emerge from this situation without a criminal record.
However, he added, “I believe my client was the true victim in this case,” according to LehighValleyLive.com. Moyer said his client needs physical therapy from the retaliatory beating.