ARLINGTON, Va. — Five teenagers pleaded guilty Wednesday to vandalizing the old Ashburn Schoolhouse in September.
The schoolhouse was covered in racial statements, swastikas and other crude images. There were images such as dinosaurs also drawn on the building, which had been used to educate black children until 1950.
“[There were] other sayings like ‘I’m with stupid’ that made it fairly obvious that these were juveniles,” Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman told WTOP. “Once the investigation was underway and the interviews were conducted with the kids, it was very apparent that this was not racially motivated.”
Plowman said the vandalism occurred over one teenager’s problem with the property owner, and that the other four had tagged along. Some of them, all either 16 or 17 years of age, didn’t even know what the swastika meant.
Because of that, the teenagers were given an assignment as part of their probation.
“They are going to have to take a trip down to the Museum of American History, and there is a 75th anniversary [exhibit] of the executive order related to the internment of the Japanese,” Plowman said. “They’re also going to have to take a trip to the Holocaust Museum. There is also a book list that we provided to them … they are going to have to do a book report once per month for the next 12 months. They are all books geared toward racism, classes of people, the interaction of different classes of people, cultures, along those lines.”
Plowman believes these teenagers will get more out of this assignment than they would being put through the correctional system.
All five had been charged with one count of destruction of private property and one count of unlawful entry.
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