A 14-year-old student has been charged with a hate crime after posting an ad on Craigslist labeled "Slave for sale," along with a photo of a black classmate.
The student, who appeared in court on Wednesday, attends Naperville Central High School in Naperville, Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reported. The ad was allegedly posted to Craigslist the previous week, on Nov. 14.
Assistant State’s Attorney Lee Roupas said the incident began in the school cafeteria that day — as both students sit together at lunch. The 14-year-old reportedly took a photo of his black classmate as they were eating, then posted that image to Craigslist.
The ad's title said "Slave for sale (Naperville)," and its description also included a racial slur, NBC News reported. Police found out about the post four days later and began investigating. Prosecutors quickly moved to file hate crime charged against the 14-year-old, saying his alleged actions were "serious and aggravating" and had put the black student at risk.
"Hate crimes have no place in our society and will not be tolerated in DuPage County. Anyone, regardless of age, accused of such disgraceful actions will be charged accordingly," Robert B. Berlin, the DuPage County State’s Attorney, said.
The student who posted the ad faces two counts of committing a hate crime, and is due back in court this December following Wednesday's hearing. Until then, the court advised him to avoid the student whose image he allegedly posted.
"It wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to stay as far away as possible while you’re at school," Judge Anthony Coco said in court Wednesday.
This is the second racially charged incident to vault Naperville into national headlines in recent months. Last month, a Buffalo Wild Wings located in the town came under fire after a white customer allegedly refused to sit next to a black family.
In that instance, employees attempted to force the family to move seats, in a moment that quickly went viral online. The restaurant chain said it has since fired multiple employees who were involved.