6 Massachusetts 8th-graders face criminal charges over 'hateful and racist comments' in Snapchat group chat

The students were charged with threats to commit a crime, with two of them facing additional charges for interference with civil rights.


Six eighth-grade students in Southwick, Massachusetts have been criminally charged for their involvement in an alleged “hateful and racist” Snapchat group chat.

According to Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, the group chat in question featured appalling language and behavior, including a mock slave auction and derogatory remarks aimed at people of color. 

The existence of the group chat and the comments made were first reported to school authorities at Southwick Regional School. Upon learning about the group chat, Gulluni notified the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit to launch an investigation. Subsequently, he authorized the Detective Unit and the Chief of the Juvenile Court unit to pursue criminal charges against the involved students.

The charges levied against the children include threats to commit a crime, with two of them facing additional charges for interference with civil rights. One additional child is facing a witness interference charge.

"Hatred and racism have no place in this community. And where this behavior becomes criminal, I will ensure that we act, and act with swift resolve, as we did here, to uncover it and bring it to the light of justice," Gulluni said in a statement on Facebook. "There is no question that the alleged behavior of these six juveniles is vile, cruel, and contemptible."

In response to the incident, several of the students were promptly suspended from Southwest Regional School. Two more students were suspended for 25 days, and another for 45 days. 

District Superintendent Jennifer Willard notified the school community of the incident via email. Willard went on to state that appropriate disciplinary measures would be taken.

"We can assure the community that the District does issue consequences in accordance with our school code of conduct in these types of circumstances," Willard said in a statement. "As stated in our original email to the community, the District firmly believes that racism and discrimination have no place in our school community."

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