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Maryland Middle School Students Face Hate Crime Charges

County prosecutors charged three Maryland middle school students with harassment and violating state hate crime statutes after they displayed swastikas, used Nazi salutes and made "offensive comments" about a classmate's religious beliefs, reports USA Today. "Maryland was founded on the principle of religious toleration. It is frankly astonishing that nearly 400 years later some people continue to persecute others based upon their religion," Calvert County State’s Attorney Robert Harvey said in a statement. "I call upon parents, educators, and community and faith leaders to make sure that our children know that religious persecution has no place in our society." The 13-year old students were charged as juveniles with harassment and violations of state hate crimes statutes, the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a news release Friday.

The charges against the three 13-year-olds came about over a week after six middle school students in Massachusetts were charged in Snapchat bullying incidents, officials said. Antisemitic incidents have surged across the United States in recent years. In 2022, the Anti-Defamation League tracked a 36% increase in antisemitic incidents from the previous year. The total stood at 3,697 — the highest number on record since the organization began tracking incidents in 1979.


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