One Virginia judge is hoping that a group of teen vandals will be able to read themselves into some common sense after they were found guilty of vandalizing a historic African-American schoolhouse with racist, anti-Semitic and obscene graffiti, The Guardian reports.
According to the report, the judge sentenced the teens to read some 35 books, watch 14 films, visit two museums and write a research paper in order to encourage “a greater appreciation for gender, race, religion and bigotry” after they were caught vandalizing the Ashburn Colored School in Virginia.
Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Richard Wright’s Native Son, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Beautiful Struggle and Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks are among the books the teens have to read.
The Guardian notes that the prosecutor said she thought the teens, who claimed that they thought the historic schoolhouse was a shed, had reached a “teachable moment.” Each month the teens will either have to file a book report or substitute three of the books for a film review. They are also tasked with writing a paper to explain what message swastikas and white-power symbols convey, and visit a Holocaust museum and an American-history museum to learn about the internment of Japanese people during World War II.
“Hopefully, what they get out of this year is a greater appreciation for gender, race, religion, bigotry. And then when they go out into the world, they are teachers,” the judge said.
Read more at The Guardian.