Berkeley students relieved teen behind racist threat found

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School officials and students were relieved Thursday that the person responsible for racist threats found on a library computer at Berkeley High School was located and confessed.

More than half of the students at Berkeley High School walked out of class Thursday morning to protest threats of violence against black students and statements of support for the Ku Klux Klan found posted to a library computer on Wednesday afternoon, according to social media posts.

Sources tell KTVU the student who confessed to writing the threats is a male freshman at the school.

On Thursday night, students lingered after sports and cheerleading practice. The racist messages that were found on the computer Wednesday afternoon were still on their minds.

"It's always a good thing to find who did it," said Berkeley High senior Kenji Sommers.

According to the school district spokesman, the student downloaded an image of a webpage onto a computer in the library, changed the text, putting in racist remarks and left them on that one computer.

Someone saw it on the screen and reported it.

"I want to understand what this kid's background was; if they were raised like that," said Berkeley High junior Alliyah Stanberry.

Up to 2,000 students walked out of class in protest Thursday morning. The group marched first in the courtyard of Berkeley High before moving to the old Berkeley City Hall and then to the UC Berkeley campus.

By afternoon, Berkeley High principal Sam Pasarow announced that forensic analysis of the library computer helped identify the male student responsible and that he had confessed.

"We are moving forward with consequences for the student with potential referral to the police department," said Pasarow.

School officials said they are still deciding what disciplinary action they will take against the student -- including suspension and expulsion. The police will determine if there will be criminal charges.

"My sense is that there was no real intention of harm. I'm going to continue to assess the degree that our campus is safe for students," said Pasarow.

Students tell KTVU they have no idea about the identity of the student responsible.

"Most people assume that he's white because they used the "n" word, but no one knows for sure," said Berkeley High junior Trew Rodgers.

The president of the senior class tells KTVU this incident is indicative of a racial divide that exists at Berkeley High.
"I'm relieved that they were able to find the culprit of this horrible event but I don't think it's going to solve the deeply entrenched racial problems at Berkeley High," said Kenji Sommers.

School officials say they are not releasing any additional information about the student because they are concerned for his safety.

There is no school Friday because it's a teacher's work day. Classes will resume Monday.