A 14-year-old boy is facing juvenile charges this week for committing hate crimes after he took a picture of one of his classmates and listed him as a “Slave for sale” on Craigslist.
The DuPage County Juvenile Court held the student’s hearing on Wednesday. The teen, who is white, appeared with his parents at the Court but did not speak to anyone or make a statement during the hearing. He was charged with two counts, the first for committing a hate crime and the second for disorderly conduct.
According to the prosecutors, the teen took a picture of a fellow 14-year-old boy, who is black, during their lunchtime. The teen then created a listing on Craigslist, using what turned out to be a disturbing photo.
The photo itself is simple enough, with just the fellow student sitting at a lunch table. However, the teen overlaid that image with a caption filled with offensive language and racial slurs. Finally, he titled the listing, “Slave for sale (Naperville).”
State Attorney Robert Berlin said:
“Hate crimes have no place in our society and will not be tolerated in DuPage County. Anyone, regardless of age, accused of such disgraceful actions will be charged accordingly.”
In response, the teen’s mother stated that she has taken away his phone.
It’s also been confirmed that the ad posted to Craigslist has been taken down.
The teen’s attorney also added that the 14-year-old is currently serving an in-school suspension for his actions and that he will also have to meet with the principal to arrange for an apology to the 14-year-old victim he previously posted about.
Whether or not the teen’s charges will lead to an actual conviction has not been confirmed yet. However, a spokesperson for the State Attorney’s office has verified that the student will at least face probation, even if a conviction is not made.
Veronica Lewis, mother to Jason Lewis who was the subject of the Craigslist ad, stated:
“This is not surprising because if they had a handle on it, these things would not be happening,” Lewis told the station. “I think they need to keep talking about the real issues, how it’s important we not have these situations because in 2019 we are still dealing with this, and that is completely unacceptable.”
Twitter overall agrees that the student’s actions were unacceptable and morally wrong. Some spoke out more bluntly than others, stating that the student and his parents needed to learn a lesson.
Disgusting.— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) November 21, 2019
That kid should be punished and his parents too because that’s where they learn that crap.— Kim Winburn (@winburn_kim) November 21, 2019
Good. Prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. If their parents won’t do their job the penal system will do it for them. I’m done.— Martini (@martini3102) November 21, 2019
Stephen Miller's protege? Make him do community service in the poor neighborhoods of Chicago till he is 18 years old— Mzee (@Mzee012) November 21, 2019
I have no words.........this has got to be the worst thing I have ever heard of.— PhlashGordon (@FMKJB) November 21, 2019
Whether the teen will face conviction has yet to be determined.
However, as Lewis stated, it’s important to keep these conversations going as a means of societal improvement.