February 7, 2017

Virginia teens slapped with reading assignments after vandalizing historic African American schoolhouse


In Virginia, a judge has sentenced five teenagers caught vandalizing an historic African American schoolhouse to… homework.

Peggy Fox at DC’s WUSA reports that each of the boys—who spray-painted the walls with sexually explicit images, swastikas, and other racist messages—have been assigned a mandatory syllabus of thirty-five books, fourteen movies, two museum visits, and one research paper to encourage “a greater appreciation for gender, race, religion, and bigotry.”

It’s admirable that judge Alex Rueda took the opportunity to offer what she called “a teachable moment,” but it’s jarring to hear her say, in her statement, that “these were dumb teenagers,” boys who were “being stupid.” Even if her comments don’t inspire the kind of reaction we saw to Hillary’s “basket of deplorables,” they at the very least downplay the seriousness of the boys’ behavior.

Either way, it’s certainly better than that judge in Italy who issued a feminist reading list to a fifteen-year-old who’d been paid for sex, rather than the thirty-five-year-old man who was paying her.



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.