By Ava-joye Burnett

CROFTON, Md. (WJZ)– The Maryland teen who was convicted for hanging a noose at a middle school has apologized to the public for the first time.

Connor Prout pleaded guilty to a hate crime after he was caught on surveillance hanging a noose.

A black leadership group invited Prout to apologize for hanging a noose at Crofton Middle School and he accepted.

“I did not intend to discriminate against anyone,” Prout said. “I’m not a hateful person, my parents did not teach me to hate.”

Police say back in May, Prout and another man were caught on camera hanging the noose, but his attorney struck a deal with prosecutors, and instead of jail time, Prout will do community service instead, under the supervision of the NAACP.

The president of the Anne Arundel County chapter pledged this will not be an easy way out.

“But lord willing by the end of this process, you would have grown into a stronger and better young man that can be an asset to this community,” said Rev. Stephen Tillett.

But there are some, even in the same chapter of the NAACP, who wonder if this was the best punishment for the crime.

“I’m doubting sometimes the sincerity of those involved, which doesn’t mean they aren’t sincere, I’m just not sure it’s going to work,” said NAACP member Rev. Marguerite Morris.

Prout will have to complete 120 hours of community service.

“I’m eager to work with the NAACP and I’m very hopeful that my mistake can be transformed into something that can better society,” Prout said.

“I’d like to just thank everyone that’s involved to make his happen, for giving him a second chance,” Prout’s father said.

Prout will also have 18 months of supervised probation.

The other suspect charged in the case goes to trial next week.

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