May 11, 2021

US students film ‘Hitler Gang’ TikTok video and send it to Jewish classmate

Grinnell, IA
- The Grinnell Police Department and Grinnell-Newberg Community School District said they are addressing racist comments made by a group of middle school students via TikTok.

The Grinnell Police Department said a resident reported the TikTok video, titled "Hitler Gang," because they believe it targeted their child's faith and transgender identity.

Police said the 10-second video showed several male students walking through a school hallway "in a goose-step style manner with their arms extended and palms down."


The video also included "several racist and derogatory hashtags."

Ori Zaret, a Jewish, transgender student at the middle school received the video from classmates.

“Now I'm kind of scared to go to school,” Ori said.

Ori said the post came from a group of students who already caused them problems.

Ori's family moved to Grinnell in January.

“I don't really remember doing much of anything to them,” Ori said. “So, it's kind of confuses me.”

“We were not going to stand for this one bit,” said Elliot Zaret, Ori’s father.

Ori immediately reported it to their parents, Elliot and Zoe Zaret, who then told school staff.

“It was a little over 100 years ago that my great grandparents and five of my grandfather's older brothers and sisters were slaughtered in the pogroms in Russia by rowdy mobs, you know?” Zaret said. “And that's what these kids could grow up into.”

Grinnell-Newburg Superintendent Janet Stutz said the students involved were punished by the school district.

“When incidences like this happen, you know, it's not going to be tolerated,” Stutz said

Ori's parents said they hope the TikTok sparks a wider community conversation about hate.

“These kids need to know this is not what our community finds acceptable,” Zoe Zaret said. “This is not what our country finds acceptable.”

They say they're grateful for how quickly the district and police acted and that Ori spoke up.

“We're proud of you,” Elliot Zaret said. “We always have your back.”

Grinnell police said it is investigating the post with help from the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office to determine if laws were violated.

Source: kcci