KEY POINTS

  • Chilmark police said the two boys cannot be held criminally liable as they were under 12
  • President of the Chilmark Town Affairs Council said it was a traumatic event for the victim
  • MVNAACP chapter president called on the children and their parents to be held accountable
  • At least one parent wants the camp to be closed

Two white boys allegedly wrapped a tent strap around the neck of an 8-year-old black boy at a Martha’s Vineyard summer camp in Massachusetts last week, resulting in an abrasion on the victim’s neck, a report said.

Local officials at Chilmark said the two boys, aged 8 and 9, cannot be held criminally responsible for the incident at the Chilmark Community Center as they are under 12 years of age, virtual channel 7, WDHDH reported. The officials said they have offered “any assistance” to the victim and his family.

President of the Chilmark Town Affairs Council, Jeff Herman, said in an email to members of the camp community that there were no other physical injuries to the child except for the abrasion on his neck, but he acknowledged that “this event was traumatic.” Herman added that the council, which oversees children’s summer camps in the area, will not tolerate such behavior, community newspaper The Martha’s Vineyard Times reported.

The Martha’s Vineyard National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (MVNAACP) has since been alerted about the incident. Chapter president Arthur Hardy-Doubleday said in a statement that an investigation will be launched into the matter immediately. Hardy-Doubleday said he was asking “the children and their parents to be held accountable for this reprehensible event” while waiting for investigation results.

Chilmark Police Chief Jonathan Klaren said that while they are hoping the victim can still enjoy himself in the area, “that’s the extent of our involvement, offering our assistance when we can.” The police have only documented the incident with no criminal investigations launched.

A concerned parent who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Martha’s Vineyard Times that the “camp should be closed” at this point as allowing the session to continue despite the incident pending investigation results “sends a bad message.”

News of the recent incident came only weeks after a Black Lives Matter sign on private property was vandalized, prompting an investigation by Chilmark police. The sign was placed with permission from the property’s owner near Chilmark library. It was the first incident of such kind in the community this year.

Summer Camp Pictured: Representative image. Photo: Beth Gilbert-Crowell/Pixabay