John Stark students accused of Civil Rights Act violation for threatening graffiti

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Sep. 20—Two teens in Weare are facing a civil complaint for violating New Hampshire's Civil Rights Act, over bathroom graffiti that the state Attorney General's Office alleges included swastikas and the name of a Black student written next to a threatening phrase.

According to the state Attorney General's Office, two 17-year-olds carved and wrote graffiti in a bathroom at John Stark Regional High School in April.

Investigators from the state's Civil Rights Unit allege one carved swastikas and other Nazi symbols into the stalls. Another student, not named in the civil complaint, wrote a threatening message that included a racial slur, the civil complaint alleges, next to which he allegedly wrote the name of a Black student.

In a news release, the Attorney General's Office said the graffiti messages also included the phrases "Blacks stand no chance," and "KKK."

The school of just over 600 students had just one Black student in the 2021-22 school year, according to federal data.

"These symbols and phrases were racist in nature and interfered with the rights of faculty, staff, students, and visitors at JSRHS (John Stark Regional High School) to access facilities at the school free from racist attack," the civil complaint reads.

The complaint alleged the messages made a Black student's family fear their child could be at risk of physical violence at school.

"Regardless of whether the defendant intended to cause physical harm to the student, the act constituted a threat because it reflects a declaration of an intent to harm that student with a purpose to terrorize that student and his family," the civil complaint reads.

A civil rights violation can mean a fine of up to $5,000.