Public schools in Charlottesville, Va., are closed for a second day as police investigate a threat to Charlottesville High School made on social media.
The threat was initially posted Wednesday on the anonymous online imageboard 4chan, a website frequented by white nationalists. The poster claimed to be a student at the high school, and threatened to carry out an “ethnic cleansing” on Thursday, while other users on the site encouraged the poster with messages like “school shooting tomorrow,” according to posts reviewed by HuffPost.
Officials are investigating the threat, and closed Charlottesville City Public Schools Thursday out of caution.
Charlottesville police have arrested a 17-year-old in connection with the threats and are charging him with threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property, a Class 6 Felony; and harassment by computer, a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
The Charlottesville community is still healing from the white supremacist Unite the Right rally that was held there in 2017. The violent neo-Nazi rally ended in the murder of counter-protester Heather Heyer and injuries to many more.
Zy Bryant, a Charlottesville community organizer and member of the Charlottesville Youth Council wrote on Twitter that the city has “always been racist. Way before August 2017 and after.”
Websites like 4chan, 8chan, and Gab have become safe spaces for white nationalists and neo-Nazis who see these sites as supporting “free speech.” However, the sites have hosted hateful anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, and pro-Nazi content.
Just days ago, Chris Cantwell, known as the “crying nazi” who participated in the Unite the Right rally advocated killing leftists on Gab.
Last week, New Zealand banned 4chan and 8chan after the sites hosted video footage of a white nationalist attack at two mosques, killing at least 50 people. The attack in New Zealand, and the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville were both planned and amplified on the “chan” sites and reddit.