New Details Emerge in Alleged Racial ‘Kill List' at South Bay High School

After student's civil complaint, sheriff reveals criminal investigation launched in September, but attorney says threats continued

New details Tuesday in the case of an alleged racial "kill list" at a South Bay high school show that despite a sheriff's office investigation, the threats didn't stop.

A day after it was revealed an African-American student at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino filed a civil complaint against the school district, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith released a statement saying her office launched a criminal investigation into the incident in September and recently submitted its findings to the county DA's Office.

But the threats have not stopped, according to the student's attorney, Richard Richardson. He said a Monta Vista student used a school computer on April 24 to post that his goal for the day was to kill black people. Richardson also revealed details on the alleged kill list post on Instagram in September.

"They talked about my client, who is a minor, and this is a specific credible threat, that they would blow her away with bullets," he said. "And they even said how many bullets it would take."

In the civil complaint, which accuses the Fremont Union High School District of negligence, the student said she feared for her life after seeing her name on the alleged kill list, and that fear forced her to transfer to another school. The complaint alleges the district knew about the threats and failed to take action.

At a community meeting Tuesday, parents, community leaders and officials were outraged at the incident and the response.

"I'm really wondering what happened, where's the disconnect," said David Kennedy of the Santa Clara County Office of Education. "This was a kill list, and if the situation was flipped and there was a black student accused of posting a kill list for white people, I doubt the response would be the same."

The school district issued a statement Monday, saying administrators immediately investigated the incident, took appropriate disciplinary action and notified the sheriff's office.

Smith said in her statement that hate crimes will not be tolerated.

"It is a failure of our community to allow racist, vile and misogynist discourse to flow freely within adolescent interactions," she said. "As community caretakers, we share in the responsibility of educating our youth that words matter, and we must conduct ourselves with deference, empathy and compassion. Such hateful rhetoric should not be allowed to grow in the minds of the impressionable."

The alleged kill list threatened to kill or shoot all black students at the school. The student suffered mental and emotional distress and was forced to transfer to another school out of fear for her life, the complaint said.

According to court documents, some students on the Monta Vista campus repeatedly harassed the student because of her race, frequently calling her the "n" word. The complaint, filed on behalf of the girl's mother last month, also alleged students labeled themselves kill spree masters on social media and named all African-American students at school.

The district also breached the education code by failing to investigate the allegations thoroughly and notify parents, the complaint said.

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