Westport schools respond to TikTok video that depicts beheading, allegedly created by HS students

A disturbing video has been circulating on social media that Jewish leaders say is targeting Israelis, but a local superintendent of schools says it is not.
"It's an outrageous video," said Carin Savel, with the Jewish Federation of Greater Fairfield County.
The video, created outside of school allegedly involving Staples High School students, depicts a beheading.
Westport public schools says it was done as a bullying tactic directed at one student who is not Jewish.
The school system says the video was made in September before the Israel-Hamas war broke out, and says the school system stands against hate and violence of all kinds.
The superintendent says it was not a reenactment of the atrocities in Israel that began after its creation.
Members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Fairfield County disagree and wish something was done sooner.
"But to see kids, high school kids creating a video of beheading of another child, and I don't know if you could read the caption on there, but it was $4,000 per student, that's what they're asking for so they don't become beheaded. What have we come to here?" said Savel.
"That's sick," said Rabbi Daniel Cohen, at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford.
He found the video very offensive.
"The reality that even somebody would even think about doing something like that you know is sickening," said Cohen.
Westport Superintendent Thomas Scarice released the following statement:
"The school administration, and the Westport police, in consultation with the state's attorney's office, investigated the video in question and could not substantiate any threat directed to specific Jewish people or to the Jewish population more generally, nor that the video targeted any Jewish person. These points do not minimize that the video in question is disturbing and has caused hurt and upset to those who have viewed it.  Its circulation at this moment in time is especially painful."
Westport public schools says it is addressing this matter but is not getting into specific details about how the students will be disciplined.
Westport Public Schools sent out the following letter:
Over the weekend, I heard from a number of school community members who expressed serious concerns about a video, created outside of school, that has been circulating among families and over social media.
Today, I have reached out and spoken to most of those community members who contacted me. I will not be able to call each one so I will provide the following information.
I cannot share specific information about student matters because of federal student privacy laws, however, given the circumstances and level of anxiety, I will share the following:
First, I want to reiterate what I stated in community messages on October 9 and 13, "Categorically together with you, the Westport Public Schools stand against, and condemn, all forms of hate and violence." Without question, the Westport Public Schools condemns antisemitism and all other forms of hate.
The circulated video in question was created before October 7, 2023.  It was not a reenactment of the atrocities in Israel that began after its creation. It was an appalling, distressing video that was addressed swiftly and firmly by the administration, in collaboration with the Westport Police Department, after it was brought to our attention.
The school administration, and the Westport police, in consultation with the state's attorney's office, investigated the video in question and could not substantiate any threat directed to specific Jewish people or to the Jewish population more generally, nor that the video targeted any Jewish person.
These points do not minimize that the video in question is disturbing and has caused hurt and upset to those who have viewed it.  Its circulation at this moment in time is especially painful.
I want to assure the community that we do not tolerate this behavior, that we are addressing this matter, and that we address all matters in ways that are appropriate and sensitive to all students and community members involved.
As always, if you have any information of hate-based conduct, please make a report to the building administration.