District says high school students behind fake TikTok videos impersonating administrators

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Friday, February 17, 2023
School district says students behind fake, inappropriate TikTok videos
The Carmel Central School District say high school students pretended to be members of the administration in fake, inappropriate TikTok videos.

PUTNAM COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- High school students at Carmel Central School District are accused of posting fake and inappropriate videos to TikTok pretending to be school administrators.

The school district has disciplined at least two high school students who created and posted several similar clips to social media.

In one clip, the visual shows a middle school principal making morning announcements, which is real, but the audio is dubbed.

The superintendent says artificial intelligence was used to imitate various administrators and the school resource officer from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

A statement from the Board of Education said in part, "We do not tolerate discrimination, harassment or racism...we hold everyone in our school system to standards of basic respect and human decency."

"Honestly it's just an embarrassment to our school, I mean getting our name out in the news, making us feel embarrassed, bad reputation and all the kind of stuff," one student said.

While some students acknowledge racial tension in the school, the board says it is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Wayne Ryder is a club advisor who attended Carmel High School as did his kids.

"I've seen these kids firsthand for 20 years and that's just not the kind of school Carmel High School is, we're lucky to have such a high-performing high school, we send kids off to very good schools," Ryder said.

While many students say they believe the videos were a poor attempt at humor, the district says its creators have been dealt with according to the code of conduct -- meaning suspensions over what is says is no laughing matter.

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