Police in a suburb of Boston have determined that the racist text messages received by a middle school student were a big hoax — possibly perpetrated by the middle school student.
The Arlington, Massachusetts police force opened its investigation last week after an unidentified Ottoson Middle School student claimed to receive the texts from another student at the school, reports New England Cable News.
The investigation centered on one sixth-grade girl, who also remains unidentified. She’s 12.
“Multiple racial epithets” appeared in the text messages, Arlington police chief Fred Ryan told The Boston Globe.
“We’re looking into what, if any, criminal act may have occurred,” Ryan told The Arlington Advocate. “It’s a matter we’re taking seriously.”
The student who was said to have received the texts is “of Indian descent,” according to the Globe, and the hoax texts make fun of his Indian background.
An unnamed woman seems to have forwarded some of the hoax texts to the Globe. Her story is that the sixth-grade girl sent the texts to her son, and then her son was supposed to send the texts to the boy with ancestral roots in India.
It’s all a bit hard to follow, but police managed to conclude that the texts were never sent by the 12-year-old girl who got blamed for them.
“The allegation of racist texts being sent from one middle school student to another was concerning and hurtful to the entire community and I am disappointed that a student would falsify a report of this nature,” Arlington Public Schools superintendent Kathleen Bodie said, according to Arlington Patch.
No one with the Arlington police said what charges they would have attempted to pin on a 12-year-old girl in the event she had actually texted something racist.
In any case, the police and the school district have announced that they are jointly working to determine the appropriate punishment — if any — for the perpetrator of the hoax.
(It’s not clear what jurisdiction the school district has over preteen kids in the summer.)
The racist text hoax of the summer of 2015 is not Arlington’s first allegation of racism.
In March, someone claimed they found anti-Semitic graffiti in two bathrooms at — wait for it — Ottoson Middle School.
“We are working with the Arlington Police Department and have reached out to the Arlington Human Rights Commission as well,” Ottoson Middle School principal Tim Ruggere said at the time, according to Arlington Patch.
“We also ask for the active and open support from parents and guardians in speaking with their children about community standards of behavior and Arlington’s culture of openness to all races, religions, and cultures,” Ruggere wrote.
Also in March, an 84-year-old woman who lives in Arlington said she received a Ku Klux Klan badge — or a picture of such a badge — in the mail after the Globe published her letter to the editor condemning presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.