Three 13-year-old students at a middle school in Huntingtown were charged as juveniles with harassment and “violations of Maryland’s hate crimes statutes,” according to the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The students at Plum Point Middle School displayed swastikas, made Nazi salutes and “directed offensive comments” toward a classmate because of that classmate’s religious beliefs, the state’s attorney’s office said on Friday.

The behavior started in December 2023 and “continued over several months” despite requests to stop, according to the state’s attorney’s office. The victim reported the behavior to Maryland State Police officers, who filed the charges against the three 13-year-olds.

Calvert County State’s Attorney Robert Harvey said in an email that the students were charged last week but were not arrested. An officer from Maryland State Police would have served copies of the charges to the students, he said.

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In an email, a Maryland State Police spokesperson said the agency investigated the report of a hate crime on March 12.

In the statement announcing the charges, Harvey said that Maryland was founded on the principle of religious tolerance.

“It is frankly astonishing that nearly 400 years later some people continue to persecute others based upon their religion,” Harvey wrote. “I call upon parents, educators, and community and faith leaders to make sure that our children know that religious persecution has no place in our society.”

Harvey’s office said the case will be forwarded to the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services for further action.

The principal of Plum Point Middle School, officials with Calvert County Public Schools and the Department of Juvenile Services did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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In 2020, five students at Calvert High School were charged with hate crimes for spray painting racial slurs on the football field and surrounding buildings, Harvey said.

The five students, who were prosecuted as adults because they were 18, pleaded guilty in 2021 and were ordered to five days in jail plus restitution and community service, according to The Bay Net.

This story may be updated.

Cody Boteler is a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others.

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