Some parents in New York are unhappy with the response of school officials to a series of TikTok videos depicting a shooting and making violent threats against Black students.
Three students allegedly made the videos, one of which shows George Fischer Middle School principal John Piscitella talking with a 37-second racist rant overdubbed and a school shooting threat against Black students, and another formatted the same way with the overdubbed voice slurring Black and Hispanic people and making lynching threats, reported the Rockland/Westchester Journal News.
"I'll hang you like the KKK," the voice says. "The KKK legacy will return."
The Putnam County sheriff's office investigated and quickly determined the students hadn't broken any laws, but parents are worried the threats weren't being taken seriously enough by school officials or law enforcement.
"Who's to say these teens won't retaliate when they return?" said parent Abigail Santana.
She said her middle-schooler and others had seen a recording that showed a video game with characters shooting at Black and brown students in a classroom at the Carmel school, and one legal expert said the videos could be considered terroristic threats.
"I think the hate crime element is actually easier than the criminal elements," said Matthew Galluzzo, a Manhattan-based criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. "The question is whether or not it's a crime at all. I think it's close."
Galluzzo added that hate crimes are not chargeable offenses on their own under New York law, and Putnam County sheriff's Capt. Jim Schepperly called their actions "abhorrent" but said they couldn't prove their intent to cause harm.
"We see conduct that needs to be corrected, addressed and punished," Schepperly said. "They're not getting a pass."
What LoHud's video at this link.