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US school expels 2 for bomb threat from Muslim pupil’s email

world Updated: Jan 17, 2016 20:11 IST
PTI
US school

The accused students opened a laptop during class time and discovered that a previous user -- a student who happened to be Muslim -- had failed to sign out of his school email account. .(Representational Photo: AFP)

A US school expelled two students after they allegedly sent a “bomb threat” to about 600 current and former students from the email account of a Muslim pupil.

The subject line of the mail sent out by the two students of the high-performing Washington Latin Public Charter School said ‘Bomb’ and the email appeared to come from a Muslim student’s account.

The message was in fact written by two pranksters, school officials were quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

The two boys, both high school seniors at school, were expelled for threatening violence, head of school Martha Cutts was quoted as saying.

“I was never really worried that it was a real threat, but you have to obviously take those things very seriously. It can be very unsettling for students to open an email and read that,” Cutts said.

The email was sent on Wednesday, and it was short, “Friday there will be big boom.” The incident at Washington Latin was a case not of hacking but of opportunistic identity fraud, Cutts said.

The accused students opened a laptop during class time and discovered that a previous user -- a student who happened to be Muslim -- had failed to sign out of his school email account.

They sent the short email to students in grades eight and above, as well as two classes of alumni, Cutts said.

School administrators quickly were able to figure out which laptop had sent the message and where that laptop was located when the email was sent.

Armed with that information, it was not difficult to figure out who was to blame.

Muslim student is fine, Cutts said, and received a lot of support from other students.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said CAIR has seen an increase in bullying of Muslim students in recent years. He said the email should be considered anti-Muslim bullying and a hate crime.

The two boys were expelled, and Cutts said that whenever she has had to expel a student, she speaks to the school to explain -- without mentioning names -- what happened and what the consequences were.

“These are absolutely teachable moments,” she said. In December, an emailed threat of violence prompted Los Angeles Unified -- the nation’s second-largest school district -- to take the unprecedented step of shuttering schools for all 650,000 of its students.

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