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5 teens identified in historic Virginia schoolhouse vandalism

Posted at 9:16 PM, Oct 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-06 21:22:57-04

ASHBURN, Va. — Police have identified five teens they say are responsible for spray-painting racist messages and vulgar images on a historic African-American schoolhouse in Loudoun County.

The single-room 19th century schoolhouse offered black children in northern Virginia a rare opportunity to receive an education, offering classes during the height of segregation for more than six decades.

Police said the suspect are four 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old who live near the schoolhouse.

The five teens suspected are accused of spray-painting “white power,” swastikas, and profanities on the schoolhouse in the overnight hours of October 1.

Detectives are working with the Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Loudoun County Juvenile Court Service Unit Intake Department to obtain charges against the teens.

Their names are not being released because they are juveniles.

“Our local officials gathered together and we wanted to make sure the community knew how seriously we took this and what a reprehensible crime this was and how insulting it was to that particular piece of property,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman.

Two years ago, students at the Loudoun School for the Gifted decided to raise $100,000 in an effort to open an educational museum that in part focused on the history of racial segregation in the school system. They had raised nearly a quarter of those funds.

On the Ashburn Old School Rehabilitation Facebook page, students wrote they were “heartbroken about this senseless act” but vowed to move ahead with renovations.

The CNN Wire contributed to this article.