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Judge finds Weare teen who participated in racist graffiti violated NH civil rights law

Ali Oshinskie

A judge has found a 17-year-old from Weare guilty of violating New Hampshire's Civil Rights Act for his role in a racist graffiti incident at John Stark Regional High School last year.

According to court documents, the teenager was one of three students who participated in the vandalism, which included swastikas and language targeting Black people, including another student who attended the school.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office pursued civil action against two of the students, who were 17, alleging violations of the state's Civil Rights Act. A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said a case involving the third student “is confidential due to the defendant’s age.”

This week, a judge ordered one of the 17-year-olds to complete 100 hours of community service and to produce a 3,000-word paper on the impact of racism, according to the attorney general’s office. That sentence came in place of a proposed $3,500 fine.

The other 17-year-old agreed to similar terms in a settlement reached with state prosecutors in January. In that case, the student was also ordered to pay a civil penalty of $2,000, with all but $500 of that fine suspended for one year pending compliance with the rest of the agreement.

As reported by the Concord Monitor, the parents of the student who was targeted in the graffiti spoke out earlier this year against what they described as an inadequate response from school administrators. They pushed to address the issue at a school board meeting in January, where they told officials they hoped to create a committee “to advise the district on how to handle and prevent discrimination in schools.”

In court this week, the student’s mother said that the advisory council has since launched and is working with other groups to facilitate more action, according to the Union Leader.

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