Juvenile charged with sending swastika image at OPRF

OPRF student charged with dissemination of anti-Semitic message

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

A 14-year-old Oak Park and River Forest High School student has been charged with distributing an anti-Semitic image during a school assembly on Friday, according to a statement released Monday morning by Oak Park police.

The juvenile faces the charge of dissemination of an obscene message and is scheduled to appear in Cook County Juvenile Court on Nov. 14.

On Friday morning, the juvenile allegedly used the iPhone app AirDrop to send an image of a swastika from somewhere in the high school's auditorium to students' cellphones during a Tradition of Excellence ceremony, according to an email sent to families today from Karin Sullivan, the district's communications director.

That day, police said they had identified the juvenile after working with high school officials and security staff.

Police said the image led to a second incident, "when a student reportedly told a parent two students were talking about shooting up the school, prompting the parent to contact police. The report turned out to be a misunderstanding."

Anyone with information on hate speech at OPRF or in the community is asked to call the Oak Park Police Department at 708-386-3800. Information may be provided anonymously by calling 708-434-1636 or online at www.oak-park.us/crimetip.

Email: michael@oakpark.com

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Bruce Kline  

Posted: November 14th, 2018 10:33 PM

Yes I agree with Wes and Bob. And Bob, this is what had me so confused about the charges. My brief on line research confirmed what I initially believed and what you pointed out: obscenity charges are reserved for sexual material. So yes. Stern lecture, warning. Maybe "community service" - if there is such a thing in the juvenile courts. But, like Wes and you imply, this kid "will walk" No doubt.

Wes Gathings  

Posted: November 14th, 2018 6:20 PM

This juvenile was petitioned to court to placate Oak Park residents. Sixteen year old kids are catching gun cases, multiple stolen autos, car jackings etc. and they are basically going home and on probation etc. This kid is going to get a stern talking to and maybe some community service. I've seen a 16 yr old punch a police officer and not be petitioned to juvenile court. However much this is here, this is a press release op for county...nothing else. Juveniles car jacking cars is the juvenile court's problem right now and we see how under control that is.

Robert Zeh  

Posted: November 14th, 2018 6:04 AM

@Bruce, if the family decides to fight this, the kid will walk. He'll walk because the statute defining dissemination of an obscene message is clearly intended for sexual material. Not everything that's horrible is illegal..

Jason Cohen  

Posted: November 13th, 2018 3:00 PM

@Nick, what about those guys posts is self righteous or bad? You seem really worked up and as far as I can tell all the both of them said is that the legal process should do its thing and the punishment should fit the crime. What's the issue with that? None of us actually knows what happened here. Is this is a stupid kid thinking he was funny? Is this a kid who's been posting hate messages online for a year and has a real issue? None of us has any clue. You have no way of knowing what the punishment should be be because you, just like us, don't know what the actual story is. Let's let due process do it's thing.

Nick Polido  

Posted: November 13th, 2018 2:22 PM

Jacek, fortunately or to your disappointment we do not have jury trials for 14 year olds. As an alternative we could have this misguided youth as well as his family do some kind of a perp walk to satisfy Oak Parker's self righteous inclinations.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: November 13th, 2018 7:23 AM

I wonder if this kid ever goes back to OPRF. I am sure everyone will know who they are soon enough if they don't already. Even if he/she isn't expelled it would be very uncomfortable going to back to school after this and this family will forever be known as the one with the kid that sent the swastika around school. This kid is certainly going to learn some kind of lesson from this. Let's hope it's not more hate.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 10:08 PM

Some useful reading on the Illinois Juvenile Justice System : . . https://www.isba.org/sites/default/files/sections/childlaw/A%20Guide%20to%20the%20Juvenile%20Delinquency%20Court%20in%20Illinois%20for%20Juveniles%20and%20their%20Parents.pdf

Bruce Kline  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 8:59 PM

Jacek: I don't think this will ever go to a jury ... more likely some sort of plea deal I bet.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 8:56 PM

Corey: Taking away a kids iphone? That indeed may truly be "cruel and unusual punishment."

Corey Gimbel from Oak Park  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 8:46 PM

The youthful perp is 14 years old. Stupid? Pretty much a given. I think a first step in this individual's rehab (we do want to salvage this child don't we?) might be a heartfelt apology to the school and community. I hope the parents have some ideas on how this hateful indiscretion might be punished. Perhaps taking away the kid's iphone for awhile to get her/his undivided attention. Just my 2 cents

Jacek Lazarczyk  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 8:35 PM

Bruce and Nick, I agree with you to a point. It could have been a stupid prank. However, it is the prosecutors to prosecute. The defenders job is to defend. The fair outcome will be delivered by the jury. It will serve the juvenile and their family well to go through that process. The lack of the moral compass at the white house cannot justify poor decisions at our house.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 7:55 PM

Hey Nick. I agree wth you. I was just "curious" as to the bizarre (IMO) charges. Apparently even the Superintendent called this a "prank." As such I do not believe he (or she) deserves the full prosecutorial weight and wrath of the feds as if he (or she) were a mob kingpin or mob assassin. And yes let the punishment fit the crime. That means no stockade in Scoville park, no potential time in a supermax, no "ass is grass." Detention? Reeducation as to the true meaning of these hate filled symbols? Certainly.

Nick Polido  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 6:57 PM

This was a immature 14 year old student...lets stop with the self righteous finger-pointing .....

Bruce Kline  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 6:32 PM

Interesting charge. I wonder if he (or she) was charged with obscenity so he (or she) could not claim protection under the First ... since obscene speech is not protected. To my knowledge obscenity usually referred to prurient speech. I was not aware of it legally including hateful speech. Any lawyers out there?

Drew Rein  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 5:59 PM

WJ was careful on gender neutral verbiage here. Do we know for certain that the juvenile is male?

Joyce Porter from Oak Park  

Posted: November 12th, 2018 3:58 PM

Do they know if he was also responsible for the graffiti? I hope he has to do community service.

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