The suicide of a Boulder, Colorado teenager has led to the exposure of a network of neo-Nazi teens who chatted on Facebook about killing black people and Jews.
The Boulder Daily Camera reported Thursday that at least five high schoolers have been expelled from classes over their racist Facebook group, "4th Reich's Official Group Chat." The group's existence came to light after its ringleader killed himself on Sep. 21 "to show his allegiance to the Nazi party and the killing of Jewish people," said a police report.
The unnamed teen -- who went by the online handle "The Fuhrer" -- was a student at the Boulder Preparatory charter school, but the Nazi group's members attended multiple schools including Boulder High, Centaurus High in Lafayette, Monarch High in Louisville, Pomona High in Arvada and Colorado Mountain College.
The name "Fourth Reich" came from the students' belief that they are the ideological descendants of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, the Nazi regime that dominated Germany and sparked World War II. Members regularly talked about executing "ni**ers" and Jews, invoked Hitler's "final solution" -- the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Europe -- and cheered on the "white power" movement. They also encouraged each other to recruit other students to the group so that they might "complete" their "mission."
One group member wrote, "You can hang Jews on trees, shoot them right in the knees. Gas as many as you please." Police declined to press charges against the teens due to the fact that there was no credible threat of violence. However, all of the teens who have been identified as "Fourth Reich" members have been expelled from their schools.
Due to federal privacy laws, Boulder school officials did not issue a statement explaining what disciplinary action was taken against the teens, but Boulder Valley spokesman Briggs Gamblin said that the school board took "appropriate responsive action" in the wake of the suicide and subsequent exposure of the racist group.
Boulder Prep headmaster Lili Adeli said that her school has taken measures to address both the suicide and the racist language used in the group.
"We did a lot of work with the students to help ensure their safety and mental health and healing," Adeli told the Camera. "It can bring up their own thoughts of suicide and previous trauma."
"We've continued to keep the lines of communication open," she said, explaining that the school has taken measures to ensure students' safety and wellbeing both inside and outside of school hours.
Scott Levin -- regional director of the Anti-Defamation League -- said that his organization had received complaints about the Facebook group.
"From our perspective, we believe law enforcement and the school district are both taking appropriate action," Levin said, but added that it's "very disheartening when you hear this type of thing is taking place."