Teens Who Vandalized Historic Va. African-American Schoolhouse Sentenced to Read Books

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Read more at The Guardian.

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Breanna Edwards

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi