Hate­ful In­sta­gram account linked to SoCal teens

Lodi News-Sentinel - - STATE/NATION - By Karen Kucher

POINT LOMA — Extra po­lice will be sta­tioned at Point Loma High School for the re­main­der of the school year, and school of­fi­cials will talk to ju­nior ROTC cadets about tol­er­ance and cy­ber­bul­ly­ing af­ter hate speech was found posted on an In­sta­gram account linked to stu­dents.

The account, which was cre­ated in March, was closed af­ter it was brought it to the at­ten­tion of school of­fi­cials, the FBI and the anti-Defama­tion League of San Diego last week­end. A sec­ond, “copy­cat” account was cre­ated by an­other stu­dent this week be­fore it, too, was shut down.

Some Point Loma res­i­dents, al­ready on edge af­ter three homes were tagged with swastikas in late May, were alarmed to learn of the ac­counts, which in­cluded memes of guns and am­mu­ni­tion, talk of a school mili­tia, as well as anti-Semitic and anti-Mus­lim mes­sages.

The trou­bling so­cial me­dia posts were dis­cov­ered less than two weeks af­ter re­tain­ing walls on three homes on Santa Bar­bara Street in the Point Loma Heights area were tagged with swastikas drawn in blue chalk.

Po­lice have made no ar­rests in the case. A school dis­trict spokes­woman said the In­sta­gram ac­counts and van­dal­ism were not thought to be re­lated.

Screen­shots of the In­sta­gram account show posts de­pict­ing a swastika and the Dr. Seuss char­ac­ter the Lo­rax with the quote, “The trees say six mil­lion wasn’t enough,” and one say­ing that Amer­ica needs to shut down mosques and ban Is­lam. An­other asked Point Loma High stu­dents if they “would like to join the mili­tia.”

Point Loma High School Prin­ci­pal Hans Becker said he talked to about 10 stu­dents while in­ves­ti­gat­ing the hate speech — those who he thought might know some­thing about the account and those who felt they were vic­tims of bul­ly­ing. He said he quickly iden­ti­fied those in­volved.

In an email sent to par­ents Monday, Becker said he could not discuss stu­dent dis­ci­pline but urged par­ents to talk with chil­dren about the im­por­tance of show­ing re­spect to others.

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