5 Schools Near Kenosha Courthouse Go Virtual During Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Deliberations

5 Schools Near Kenosha Courthouse Go Virtual During Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Deliberations people protest outside courthouse Supporters of Kyle Rittenhouse hold signs outside the Kenosha County Courthouse as jurors deliberate a verdict for the Kyle Rittenhouse case in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Nov. 17, 2021. (Christopher Dilts/Sipa via AP)

By Fran Beyer | Thursday, 18 November 2021 11:21 AM

School officials in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shifted five school sites to virtual learning for Thursday and Friday as deliberations in the high-profile murder trial of teen gunman Kyle Rittenhouse continued.

The affected elementary, middle, and high schools will hold classes online for the rest of the week, Kenosha Unified School District announced in an alert to parents Wednesday, Kenosha News reported.

Two of the schools had already switched to virtual learning Tuesday in anticipation of activity around the Kenosha County Courthouse, where the trial is taking place, the news outlet reported.

"While we have not been advised of any existing imminent danger, we feel this is the best course of action to protect our students and staff during an uncertain time," the district’s message to parents stated, WISN 12 reported.

"We will continue to work closely with law enforcement to receive support as needed in the days and weeks ahead."

Rittenhouse, 18, is on trial on homicide and attempted homicide charges for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white police officer.

Rittenhouse, a then-17-year-old former police youth cadet, said he went to Kenosha to protect property from rioters.

He shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28.

The case has since become a flashpoint in the debate over guns, racial injustice, vigilantism, and self-defense in the country.

Rittenhouse could get life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against him.

The teen’s lawyers Wednesday asked the judge to declare a mistrial even as the jury in the case were already deliberating — saying the defense received an inferior copy of a potentially crucial video from prosecutors.

It was the second mistrial motion from the defense in a week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.