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Three Maryland Middle Schoolers Face Hate Crime Charges Over Threats To Black Students

MIDDLETOWN, Md. (WJZ) -- Three Middletown Middle School students face hate crime charges for online threats to Black students, the Frederick County Sheriff's Office said. One of the students faces a gun possession charge.

Deputies responded to the school Wednesday morning after a parent reported disturbing images. The images allegedly showed students with what appeared to be guns, making threats to "every Black student."

Deputies and school resource officers responded to the school around 9 a.m. for the threats, which officials said were posted to Instagram and Snapchat. Officials said three students, eighth-graders, were identified and apprehended.

Authorities said there was no imminent threat to the school and that an evacuation was not made, and the school was never placed into lockdown status.

In a search of the student's rooms Wednesday, deputies recovered two fake guns: an airsoft gun and a BB gun. A handgun was also recovered.

As part of the investigation, authorities made forensic downloads of the juvenile suspects' phones. The families of the students are "fully cooperating" in the investigation, officials said. The ages of the students have not been disclosed.

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said the image is continuing to be reposted and reshared in the community as residents continue to repost the picture in question. He asked that reposting stop so that the community can "move on" from the incident.

A Frederick County Public Schools representative said the three students are not allowed on school property at this time. Disciplinary action for the students are pending the completion of the Sheriff's Office investigation.

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