All over the major newspapers and news media last week was the ugly tale of another “hate crime.” 12-year-old Amari Allen, a black sixth-grader at a Christian, Northern Virginia private school, said that three white boys held her down and cut off some of her dreadlocks.
The New York Times and other news sources decided this was national news, just like a white Catholic school boy not having the right expression on his face when he was being harassed by a Native American activist. More proof of racism in America! “They put me on the ground,” the girl recounted in an emotional phone interview”One of them put my hands behind my back. One put his hands over my mouth. One cut my hair. They were saying that my hair was ugly, that it was nappy.” Why was this alleged episode of childhood bullying worthy of national attention? It was because Mike Pence’s wife Karen teaches at the school, the Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, about 15 minutes from my home.
This was cognitive dissonance manipulation. Pence’s wife teaches at a school where a black girl was racially harassed, thus the school is racially biased, thus Karen Pence is facilitating racism, thus her husband consorts with a racist, and it all leads back to that racist, President Trump. ( Big Lie #4)
With the same motivation, the left wing websites enthusiastically promoted the story. Here’s the always shameless Daily Kos:
See the white supremacy hate crimes that Trump, Pence, and Republicans foster? The local NAACP immediately got into the act, talking about lawsuits.
Except that it didn’t happen. The Washington Post reported today that the girl has recanted, and her grandparents, who are raising her, have apologized.
Blogger Ann Althouse flagged this story as problematical days ago, writing,
“I’m blogging this story because I believe there are many adults in the picture here, including the people at the NYT, who are not doing enough to protect this child. Whether the story arose 100% from a real life incident or whether it’s all made up or somewhere in between, the girl’s needs are the overwhelming top priority and every adult with anything to do with this should do all they can to help and protect her. I don’t know that the boys have been named and accused. It sounds like they go to the school and would be easily identifiable. If particular boys are accused, then treating them fairly is also paramount. If the boys are not named, then it’s very hard to believe the story. As I read it, the story emerged after interaction with the grandmother. The child might have been pressured and asked leading questions and had no idea of what a big deal it would become. That’s why her name and picture should never have come out before an investigation. Even after an investigation, I wouldn’t burden her life with this story, whether it’s true or false.”
Many more mature females have sought temporary advantages, political or otherwise, in making false accusations against men without concern for the consequences to those they accused. The lessons that this conduct is never acceptable, and will always be punished, are essential to teach, and 12-years-old is not to young to learn it. A lifetime burden? Too bad. A few more days in the news and three innocent boys would have had a lifetime burden as junior racists. I know this doesn’t matter to the news media because the boys are white, but it does matter, and should matter. If the news media is held responsible for making Amari’s mistake a worse burden because their confirmation bias and disgusting desire to promote racial division led them to make this story a topic of national debate before the facts were confirmed, good. In fact, great. Maybe they’ll be more responsible next time, though I doubt it.
“This story should never have been reported,” Althouse says. With that, I do agree.
The school, meanwhile, has said in a statement from the principal:
“We can now confirm that the student who accused three of her classmates of assault has acknowledged that the allegations were false, We’re grateful to the Fairfax County Police Department for their diligent work to investigate these allegations. While we are relieved to hear the truth and bring the events of the past few days to a close, we also feel tremendous pain for the victims and the hurt on both sides of this conflict. We recognize that we now enter what will be a long season of healing. This ordeal has revealed that we as a school family are not immune from the effects of deep racial wounds in our society. We view this incident as an opportunity to be part of a learning and healing process, and we will continue to support the students and families involved. We will also continue teaching what we’ve taught for more than 40 years: that the love of God is for all people, and as His children we should demonstrate that love equally to all people regardless of their background, what they believe or how they behave.”
Blechhh. Compassion for the child who made a serious and false accusation with racial overtones is misplaced. She lied and continued to press the lie with journalists. She’s old enough to understand the ramifications of that. Her guardians, who allowed her to get in the mess by failing to make certain she was telling the truth, and those who set out to exploit her have also earned every bit of their “pain.”
Blaming the incident on “the effects of deep racial wounds in our society” is deflection, making bland excuses and shifting responsibility from where it belongs. Somehow, this will end up as President Trump’s fault, and the girl will be the victim.
She should be kicked out of the school and prosecuted, or in the alternative, forced to move to Chicago where making false hate crime accusations doesn’t matter.
Sources: Althouse, AOL, Stephen Green,
32 thoughts on “The Most Important Question Raised By Another Fake Hate Crime Story: How Much Lousy, Irresponsible, Divisive, Biased Journalism Will The Public Tolerate And The News Media Refuse To Fix?”
Immediately on the heels of having enabled the initial lie, the press follows up by promoting another lie, this time from the NAACP (from the same article) :
But fake hate crimes are not rare. Professor Wilfred Reilly of Kentucky State University wrote a book examining hundreds of hate crime claims in the national media – more than two thirds turned out to be hoaxes.
Nor is it clear hate crimes are increasing. The statistics cited are garbage. Take the FBI, for instance. Hate crime reporting is voluntary and many police agencies don’t participate. However, as more agencies join the program the raw number of hate crimes reported goes up. Moreover, the distribution of hate crimes is decidedly odd, with Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Vermont all figuring in the top 10 worst jurisdictions for hate crime per capita. Conversely, all of the Deep South except South Carolina come in the top ten for the lowest rates of hate crime. Mississippi reported 1 hate crime in 2017. California was over a thousand. All of this suggests our official count of hate crimes is far more sensitive to the political inclinations of local law enforcement than to actual hate crimes.
To follow up, BJS hate crimes statistics do not actually show an upward trend:
Click to access hcs1317pp.pdf
I recently bought that book. On page one Reilly notes the ADL in 2018 possessed $144,158,994 in assets and $81,187,088 in post-liability net assets. It seems there’s some money to be made in perpetuating fear of racist boogeymen everywhere.
I may be reading and watching all the wrong news sources (NBC, mostly, but several other local and national sources), but this is literally the first time I’ve heard that this is the school where Karen Pence teaches.
But it wouldn’t be the last if the hoax had not been so quickly exposed.
Propaganda points made by NYT and NAACP; moving on to next hit piece.
If you think this wasn’t politically motivated, I’ve got some ocean front property for you in Arizona.
The dude who made that line famous lives not too far from me…
And a good country tune to boot.
The answer to your title question is: As long as there is sufficient demand for their fake news, there is not motivation for them to fix it. And toeing the lefty line has much lower public resistance, as appeals to emotion are popular even among more conservative groups, especially those who pay for the news they consume.
Profit motive in the news media has overcome all other considerations because it is now a survival mandate rather than a way to big bucks. We can see this clearly because of the number of traditional print and new media companies going belly-up in the last 10 years.
That’s not to say that profit is the only driver, but if you can pick a side, it makes a lot of things easier economically including finding “talent,” as young, less experience but “hip” and “woke” journalists tend to be much more liberal than conservative, and therefore more common and likely less costly. It isn’t that you can’t find a conservative young journalist, it’s just that they are not common. The barrier to a leftist perspective is much lower and easier to overcome than the alternative, which is why Fox has so little competition for the other side of the argument.
So news outlets have decided that picking sides is more profitable, easier, and more comfortable to their own beliefs than trying to be fair and non-partisan. I can respect that decision, as tragic as it is, because unfortunately, it is currently a reality of our world that if you walk in the middle of the road, you’re likely to be run over.
I just wish they would all be honest about their perspective instead of trying to deceive everyone. That would be a good starting point to get back to an ethical media, even if it’s just a tiny step.
[Thank you Glen Logan for being a few minutes ahead of me and making some of the same points I intended to make and making them better than I have. Well, I’m posting anyway.]
The news media will not fix a “problem” unless they see it as a problem, and it’s pretty obvious they don’t see this kind of reporting as a problem.
Just imagine the attention given to the initial story – three white boys hold down a black girl, insult her, and cut her hair. Not enough attention-getters there? Add in that it’s where the Vice President’s wife teaches and that the school bans LGBT. It’s international news at its best, millions of clicks, maybe lots of new subscribers, what’s not to like?
Oh, the story’s false? We published the girl’s name and photo? We slandered the school?
No problem. We will just issue a correction
We contributed to the idea that accusations of hate crimes may be fake? No problem there, either. We’ll just continue to assert that fake reports are extremely rare. Plus, the original (wrong) story got a lot more mileage than the correction, and that’s what counts, right?
So, problem, what problem?
I’ll be interested to see if the retraction story gets as much top billing and for as many days as the original one.
We should have known it was a hoax…what 12-year old white boy knows the word, “nappy”?
Personally, I assume all hyped stories are bogus. It is my reaction to all the chicken littles in the media.
I no longer need to watch political pundits to gain differing perspectives; I know what they are before they speak.
I no longer care what other politicians have to say about an issue. If you hear one you hear them all. They all have the same talking points. How many times have you heard every critic of Trump say they swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution this week? Or how Trump is jeopardizing national security by witholding lethal aid from Ukraine. I bet the Russians really feared being hit with blankets during Obama’s reign.
On the flip side we know how conservative media spins its messages. They portray Trump as an epic hero touting the good and failing to recognize his Achilles heel. He is referred to as a counterpuncher and never someone that punches down.
The media is a product we buy based on our tastes and preferences. The only way it will ever be objective is when consumer accept the fact that the product they consume is not necessarilly honest and objective. Consumers want the Frosted Shredded Wheat over the original because it makes them feel good. Sure, there are some that want the benefits of the original but as demand grows for the sugary version less and less shelf space is allotted to the less tasty version.
When the health benefits of objective news outweighs the sugar rush of their favorite media’s slant, maybe then things will change. The real question is will it take a metaphorical heart attack before we change our consumption habits.
You bring up an interesting problem. All that you say is certainly true when the MSM is considered because, of course, they have the greatest investment and the most to protect. Those media companies are owned by larger corporations with invested interests. The more that one looks into ‘news production’ the more tainted it seems. What I find odd — as a YouTube researcher of old news programs and talk shows as part of a larger project of understanding The Culture Wars — is how in the past there were actually discussions going on which did not seem, as they do now, to be scripted and therefore false conversations.
But I have asked the same question about the various news sources that I access, the so-called ‘alternative media sources’ that have arisen. Take for example the monetized YouTube channel where the creators appeal to their audience for donations, or where they have ‘super-chats’ going while a live presentation is being presented and people make small monetary donations. As much as I admire and appreciate Red Ice Radio, and think they are doing productive work, nevertheless it is obvious that their production company is their means of livelihood. And if one particular product attracts more attention and earns more money, it stands to reason that they will develop more ‘products’ of a similar sort.
The only way it will ever be objective is when consumer accept the fact that the product they consume is not necessarily honest and objective.
I think that you mean that a ‘consumer’ would be objective — might be objective — if they understood that they were ‘selecting’ a product to consume? Objectivity would be expressed in knowing that they are choosing and selecting?
Since every entity that purveys information or ‘perspective’ is by definition tainted and complicit in distortion, who then is most likely to be capable of a truly objective view?
The answer to who is ethically pure to provide unbiased news is no one. It will require the consumer to seek out competing opinions and then decide what makes sense. The problem is that even the most objective consumer will only be given asymetric information and will probably not undertake the Herculean task of researching and understanding fine points of law, foreign policy, gamesmanship and myriad other factors that would lead people to the most accurate reflection of reality. So the best anyone can do is try to avoid confirmation bias and ask themselves what common sense position can I take based on what I know of the issue.
[I admit to having some confusion about the entire concept of ‘the ethical’. If I am correct, one’s ‘ethics’ and the ‘ethics’ of a culture (for example) are not much more than some established rules. Obviously, those rules are flexible. If it is possible to transvalue values, it is possible to transvalue ethics.]
In argument, that is in philosophical argument, or in debate, the notion of ‘persuasion’ is relevant. To persuade through proper and rational forms of argument and the presentation of accurate information. Substance and ‘genuine content’ must be the topic, and if persuasion enters in it is to convince another of a ‘truth’.
But in respect to ‘the news’ and to our modern news-forms, when persuasion is considered, these terms come up:
sway, hustle, sell, convince, connive, brainwash, induce, stimulate, influence, tempt, charm, trick
To understand persuade, see dissuade:
Take the word ethically out and read it any way you want. The operative word is objectively which in common usage and understanding means without bias, or a balanced look at the information presented witout giving a predetermined weight on whose information is more credible.
Lots of people think they are objective when they actually have discounted opposing views before considering them. After awhile of having people nitpick irrelevant details of a thought the individual tends to become deaf to the critique. So it is easy to understand one of the causes of bias.
The operative word is objectively which in common usage and understanding means without bias, or a balanced look at the information presented without giving a predetermined weight on whose information is more credible.
It figures though that I do not ‘believe in’ objectivity, not in the way that you use the term. It seems to me that people — the strongest people, the most effective people — operate out of defined and established sets of values. So, education (paideia) is not the inculcation of ‘objectivity’ but the insistence on specific and defined values.
I do not believe it is desirable nor ‘good’ to operate in life without bias. Or, I think the term bias is biased!
I hope that you do see that I understand what you are trying to say, and I also think I understand why, but because my orientation is (apparently) one of defining counter-definitions and of polemical redefinitions, I have a duty to oppose certain ‘conventional usages’.
You are free to define terms anyway you wish. I even agree that bias can be beneficial. But to assume one can be effective in understanding a particular issue one has to use commonly understood terms or risk creating a false impression. But then, what do we mean by false.
I bet my wife last week this whole story was made up and she wouldn’t take the bet. Nothing about this story passed the sniff test. It truly is a testament to how large portions of the media have given up journalistic integrity. Where were the basic questions of the parts of the story that seemed unlikely?
12 years old on a slide?
Actions being taken on the slide?
White boys using the word “nappy”?
The who thing sounds made up and no one who covered this story thought to get more? What happened to assume nothing and question everything? Is this another outcome of the Metoo movement or is this the ongoing relationship that racism is so strong in our society that even the incredible must be believed? Is it another chance to get Trump?
I suspect it is all of the above and more.
I also wanted to point out the NYT pre and post headline to this story
Pre: Black Virginia Girl Says White Classmates Cut Her Dreadlocks on Playground
Post: Virginia Girl Recants Story of Boys Cutting Off her Dreadlocks
The “little girl” is also about the same size as her grandparents, could pass for 18, and is not much older than her mother was when she was born. Ann Althouse seems to think she was 6.
She wasn’t the only one who gave me that impression. A few articles seemed to indicate that too.
The impression I had was the news articles wanted to avoid mentioning the girl’s age. I had to ask, “why would a child do this? Oh, she’s 12. I get it. 12 year olds aren’t as unaware as we would like to think.”
I didn’t get that impression from Althouse’s postings. She linked to various stories. To me, she was discussing that this girl is a minor whose identity should be protected, just as the accused boys.
Her commentary was out of sync with what I would call legitimate concern for an older minor, and when I saw and heard her, I had a tough time imagining that she was the hapless innocent pawn Ann seems to think. False accusations are terrible and do great harm. When is too early to teach that? How do you teach that without consequences?
That is fair.
This episode brought to my mind Jane Elliott, the third grade teacher who subjected her students to child abuse, except it was never called child abuse, because it ostensibly taught children life lessons about race, and was therefore applauded. I don’t particularly think you should traumatize children into good life decisions, but that’s just me. The experiments in question are colloquially known as blue eyes brown eyes.
“On the first day of the exercise, she designated the blue-eyed children as the superior group. Elliott provided brown fabric collars and asked the blue-eyed students to wrap them around the necks of their brown-eyed peers as a method to easily identify the minority group. She gave the blue-eyed children extra privileges, such as second helpings at lunch, access to the new jungle gym, and five extra minutes at recess. The blue-eyed children sat in the front of the classroom, and the brown-eyed children were sent to sit in the back rows. The blue-eyed children were encouraged to play only with other blue-eyed children and to ignore those with brown eyes. Elliott would not allow brown-eyed and blue-eyed children to drink from the same water fountain and often chastised the brown-eyed students when they did not follow the exercise’s rules or made mistakes. She often exemplified the differences between the two groups by singling out students and would use negative aspects of brown-eyed children to emphasize a point.
At first, there was resistance among the students in the minority group to the idea that blue-eyed children were better than brown-eyed children. To counter this, Elliott lied to the children by stating that melanin was linked to their higher intelligence and learning ability. Shortly thereafter, this initial resistance fell away. Those who were deemed “superior” became arrogant, bossy, and otherwise unpleasant to their “inferior” classmates. Their grades on simple tests were better, and they completed mathematical and reading tasks that had seemed outside their ability before. The “inferior” classmates also transformed – into timid and subservient children who scored more poorly on tests, and even during recess isolated themselves, including those who had previously been dominant in the class. These children’s academic performance suffered, even with tasks that had been simple before.
The next Monday, Elliott reversed the exercise, making the brown-eyed children superior. While the brown-eyed children did taunt the blue-eyed children in ways similar to what had occurred the previous day, Elliott reports it was much less intense. At 2:30 on that Wednesday, Elliott told the blue-eyed children to take off their collars. To reflect on the experience, she asked the children to write down what they had learned.”
While this may have taught kids a lesson about tolerance, but I have huge reservations about the efficacy and ethics of this. We can, however, infer another lesson from this; Elliott later went on Oprah, and instead of talking immediately about her work, she was introduced deceptively and did a variation of the experiment on the studio audience, using hair color. While Oprah’s studio audience might not have been made up of the creme de la creme of society, they were made up of adults, and yet those adults still fell into hair-ism as quickly as the kids fell into eye-ism.
So, you have two basic choices here, you can believe that those kids and those adults were latent eye-ists and hair-ists, and Elliott unmasked the bigots, or you can believe that bigotry can be taught, taught quickly, and to large groups, with only a thin veneer of authority and an air of certainty.
Perhaps it’s because we aren’t as far out of the caves as we think we are, and our caveman brains are more than willing to draw differentiation between people and run with them, maybe it’s something I haven’t thought of. Regardless, I think that this demonstrates that people can be taught almost any bigotry given the right stimulus, and that this case is just one of a series of variations on a theme. Jussie Smolette was the highly visible tip of the iceberg, but the phenominon isn’t new. Where do these people get their ideas? Where did this kid get these ideas? Where did her grandparents get these ideas? Where did the news media get these ideas? What kind of message was sent out, and from whom, that creates these narratives that are warping the minds of a generation? You can’t fight bigotry with slightly different bigotry… It’s both ineffective to be a hypocrite and you’re teaching (or developing) bigotry.
No one wins.
So, you have two basic choices here, you can believe that those kids and those adults were latent eye-ists and hair-ists, and Elliott unmasked the bigots, or you can believe that bigotry can be taught, taught quickly, and to large groups, with only a thin veneer of authority and an air of certainty.
Perhaps it’s because we aren’t as far out of the caves as we think we are, and our caveman brains are more than willing to draw differentiation between people and run with them, maybe it’s something I haven’t thought of. Regardless, I think that this demonstrates that people can be taught almost any bigotry given the right stimulus, and that this case is just one of a series of variations on a theme. Jussie Smolette was the highly visible tip of the iceberg, but the phenomenon isn’t new. Where do these people get their ideas? Where did this kid get these ideas? Where did her grandparents get these ideas? Where did the news media get these ideas? What kind of message was sent out, and from whom, that creates these narratives that are warping the minds of a generation? You can’t fight bigotry with slightly different bigotry… It’s both ineffective to be a hypocrite and you’re teaching (or developing) bigotry.
No one wins.
Oh I have many other ‘choices’ available to me. One of them being ‘reason unencumbered by politically correct coercion’. 🙂
First, the whole ‘test’ was a set up and non-scientific. It was theatre and rehearsal. She set up a situation that *proved* what she wanted to prove. There were dozens of ‘messages’ and ‘learning points’ that she wished to communicate, all in service to her distorted Left-Progressive perspective. A classic activist if I have understood correctly. You got suckered by it for the same reason: you already have established those tenets as a prioris and you look for some external evidence, however absurd, to bolster your desire.
To use the word ‘bigotry’ is to use a highly charged and loaded word. It comes with an entire package. To be a ‘bigot’ is as bad — even worse in ways — as being a ‘racist’. But what you mean, in fact, and what you communicate here, is your basic location within Left-Progressivism. This is really what you are representing and ‘selling’.
Yes, values can be taught and are taught. What you wish to refer to — and what you are referring to — is a social situation in which either a white family or society, or a Black family or society, desired to preserve its special and unique qualities and thus inculcated those children to notice, to consider, to be aware of ‘difference’. What you as a Left-Progressive condone is the elimination of that distinguishing frame of mind. And the installing of a different way of *seeing* which you have decided is ‘normal’ ‘better’ and more ‘true’. And what results from that (a form of dumbing-down really) is a general society incapable of making ‘proper distinctions’. Or, working only with another set of them. This leads to the politically correct and to a larger pattern of social coercion.
And as everyone seems aware: that PC has entered the Universities as almost a Maoist indoctrination.
Further evidence of your particular prejudice is in the use of the term ‘we aren’t as far out of the caves’. It is a rather progressive-minded notion, isn’t it? That those who see distinguishing difference (you are talking basically about race differences obviously) are primitives. This is a common depiction. Take for example any representation of any ‘bigoted Southerner’ in any film or book.
You cannot even answer the questions you have posed in the second part of your exposition. The reason you can’t is because you cannot put all the relevant facts on the table. You could only begin to realistically answer those questions if you could arrive at the proper initial definitions.
Jane Elliott has on here tee-shirt (in the photos on Google) “Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance”.
This is a false-statement. Or it is one of those statements that contains both a truth and a falsehood and thus is most pernicious.
Amari will get her life back. Just wait till she meets Greta Thunberg.
It just came on TeeVee that her grandparents shaved her head. In front of the news camera. That’s going too far in my view. When is the madness going to stop?
I wouldn’t yet be too hard on the grandparents. From what we’ve seen so far, they appear truly embarrassed and contrite, offering apologies to everyone. They did apparently take on the responsibility of raising the girl (quite possibly in lieu of an irresponsible baby-mama, as is sadly too often the case), cared enough to put her in a better school, and admitted the fraud when they discovered it rather than try to cover-up and misdirect. Sometimes children disappoint.
But, who alerted the news to this story? And are the grandparents so easily absolved of responsibility?
The news media picked it up because it had all the right buzz words: Rich, white, Christian, privilege, boys, Pence/Trump, poor, disadvantaged, girl, racism, injury, hate, crime. What’s not to love? It is the perfect hurricane of social justice warriors.
According to the New York Times, this incident occurred on September 23. That was last Monday. By September 27 (Friday, a mere five days later), after the grandmother contacted the police and the media, the story had been picked up by national news, some naming the girl, the school, the religious affiliation, and Pence’s wife. According to the Times, they interviewed the girl over the phone:
“They put me on the ground,” Amari said on Friday in a phone interview. “One of them put my hands behind my back. One put his hands over my mouth. One cut my hair. They were saying that my hair was ugly, that it was nappy.”
That is pretty detailed. This isn’t a group of boys running around on the playground with scissors; this is a targeted attack, complete with an assault with something sharp enough to cut hair all while yelling racial and racist epithets.
The school had to react. According to the school (from the NYT),
“Stephen E. Danish, the head of Immanuel Christian, said in an emailed statement that the school was cooperating with the Police Department in the investigation.
‘We take seriously the emotional and physical well-being of all our students, and have a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of bullying or abuse. We are deeply disturbed by the allegations being made, and are in communication with the young lady and her family to gather information and provide whatever support we can. All of the students involved in this matter have stepped away from school while the Fairfax County Police Department conducts an investigation.'”
So, the school says that the students involved in this matter “have stepped away from school”. That means this pre-teen identified the perpetrators and the school removed them from class. That also means that this girl lied about being racially assaulted by three innocent boys, whose names and reputations are going to be known at the school.
And the grandparents did this:
“Cynthia Allen, who is Amari’s grandmother and legal guardian, said in an interview on Friday that Amari was initially hesitant to tell her what happened to her hair, but that on Wednesday she finally broke down crying about the episode.”
“They called her ugly and told her she should not be alive,” Ms. Allen said. “They said she shouldn’t have been born.”
The grandparents called the police before contacting the school, if I read this correctly from the NYT: “Ms. Allen said that the family immediately reported the assault to the police and that the middle school principal called her Wednesday night to ask if she had filed a report and for the name of the police officer involved.”
“I said, ‘No sir, I’m not giving you that information,’ ” Ms. Allen said.
So, the girl and her grandparents have libeled three boys and the school over a false accusation of a racially motivated assault. The grandparents may have apologized but terrible damage has been done. I mere mea culpa seems insufficient to address the injury to reputations.
The grandparents may well be criticized and held responsible for not sufficiently vetting the girl’s story, and other initial actions. Civil suits could be in the offing. Still, they didn’t progress to Jussie Smollett or Al Sharpton levels of dishonesty once they knew the truth, so deserve a bit of credit for that.
The school, too, seems to have wisely held back on releasing names and acted relatively responsibly, compared to the parties involved in some similar incidents. Anyone who knows the boys’ mentioned, also surely knows “the rest of the story” now, so there has been better damage control.
Apply blame and punishment as warranted, but perhaps we can hope tempering that with consideration and credit for doing the right thing sooner rather than later, instead of stonewalling, might inspire at least some others to do the same in these situations. That would be a good thing.