Charlottesville Schools Closed For Second Day After Online ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Threat (UPDATED)
Charlottesville City schools remain closed on Friday as authorities continue to investigate an online post that threatened a school shooting at Charlottesville High School.
Officials closed schools on Thursday after receiving an email Wednesday evening from a “concerned citizen.” The original threat was reportedly posted on the sites 8chan and 4chan and a screenshot was posted on Reddit. The Daily Progress reports:
Police have not confirmed that that threat is the subject of their investigation. An email sent by a city schools spokeswoman Thursday afternoon “acknowledge[d] and condemn[ed] the fact that this threat was racially charged.”
According to the Reddit thread, the original post came from “the Chans,” referring to the message boards 4chan and 8chan, parts of which are frequented by white supremacists. The sites were banned in New Zealand in the wake of last week’s mosque shootings for hosting video of the massacre.
The Daily Progress also reported that Albemarle High School saw increased security Thursday that will continue into Friday after a threat was posted on social media. Albemarle County Superintendent Matt Haas said there was no evidence linking the threat to the one in Charlottesville.
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the threat in a statement that called on tech companies to do more about extremist content:
“Less than a week after the horrific attack in New Zealand, we are again reminded of the danger social media poses as a forum for extremists and their calls for violence. The threats of ‘ethnic cleansing’ directed at Charlottesville High School via 4chan are a frightening development for a city that is still healing from the traumatic and lingering experience of the deadly Unite the Right rallies in 2017—which were also, in part, emboldened by the use of social media.,” Washington, D.C., regional director Doron Ezickson said in a statement.
“Social media companies must take responsibility for the role that their platforms have played in elevating extremism, and ADL continues to call upon tech CEOs to join the fight against hate, and decisively act to combat the scourge of extremism online.”
Police are urging anyone with information to call an anonymous tip line: 434-977-4000.
Two teenagers were arrested in Albemarle County on Friday morning for different threats of shootings at Albemarle and Charlottesville high schools and police are exploring if one was a copycat of the other.
A threat of an ethnic cleansing school shooting was made Wednesday night against Charlottesville High School, prompting the closure of city schools on Thursday and Friday.
Albemarle school officials were made aware of a similar threat against Albemarle High School on Thursday.