Jokers, Hate Crimes, & You:
When The ‘Joke’ Isn’t Funny

Bad Joke Actually a Hate-crime When
Student Lists Two Others as ‘Slaves for Sale’ in Florida


Pictured: A screengrab showing an offensive ‘joke’-post to the website Craigslist in which two high school students were shown under the headline ‘Two Slaves for Sale’.

No matter if something is done with an intent to hurt someone or just casually as a joke, if one person’s simple fun results in another person’s harm, that action may be considered legally as an act of bullying, criminal harassment, or both.  Obviously being the victim of bullying is never fun.  If that fact is not enough to stop someone from reconsidering their actions, they should keep in mind that unintentional harm is still harm in the eyes of the law.  Consider this incident:

A student at a Florida’s Fleming Island High School (who remains unnamed due to his age), took a picture of two African American females in his class and then posted an ad featuring that picture on Craigslist.  The ad had been placed in the ‘Home and Garden’ section of the used goods website and had been titled “Two Slaves for Sale,” [as seen in the picture above].

The post went viral overnight as hundreds of complaints were made on social media. Reports say that the high school student responsible for the ad was identified and then immediately expelled from school and sent to an alternative education program offered by his district.

The post however, was not the first incident involving heavy racial ties for the Fleming Island High School.  The school’s students had been reporting issues and incidents of “racial targeting” on their campus (by fellow students and by school staff) for years before the craigslist incident took place.

One of the students pictured in the ad, Skye Fefee, told reporters that she was deeply disturbed by the act and wondered how something like this could happen not only to her, but those around her too.

Regarding the school administration and how they handle racial incidents including her own, Fefee stated “The administration doesn’t pay attention to this. They need to better monitor the students,“.   She went on to state that her school’s administration needs to be more proactive, taking steps that prevent students from being hurt by those committing acts of hate.

The student responsible is a juvenile and wasn’t charged with any crimes.

Despite being a juvenile, the student responsible for posting the advertisement to Craigslist was lucky to have not been charged with a crime.  Some districts would find the student criminally liable for bullying, and if the school was federally funded the student could have been risking facing federal hate crime charges (no matter his age).



1: This article talks about an issue involving hate speech. Should the first amendment affect hate speech? Why or why not?

2: If you or someone you know was targeted in a “joke” like this, what would you/how would you stop it?

3: Do you think the first amendment protects too much? What changes would you make or not make to the first amendment?

4. If this event had happened at your school, what are the minimum and maximum penalties the student would have faced at your school for posting that kind of hate-ad to Craigslist?

5. If this event had happened at your school, what are the minimum and maximum criminal penalties the student would have faced for posting that ad? 

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers.  For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

Contributed by: Joseph Motta 

Bullying, Courts & You, Craigslist, GCaY, Hate Crime, Not Funny,

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