Supt. of Schools Thomas Scarice
Supt. of Schools Thomas Scarice / File photo

WESTPORT — Days after issuing a warning about “a spate of student video recordings” that have had a concerning impact on Westport schools’ environment, Supt. of Schools Thomas Scarice on Monday issued a new statement about another “appalling, distressing video” that prompted an investigation by school and police officials.

Scarice, in the message, said that he learned about a video over the weekend — “created outside of school” — that was circulating among local families and over social media and had raised “serious concerns.”

The superintendent said he could not share many details about the video, which apparently was created before the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel.

The video, he said, “was not a re-enactment 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.”

Scarice said the investigation into the video by school officials and police, in consultation with the State’s Attorney’s Office, “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.”

Nonetheless, the superintendent said, it does “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.”

Scarice added that the school district will “not tolerate this behavior … and that we address all matters in ways that are appropriate and sensitive to all students and community members involved.”

Last Friday, in another community message, Scarice had said, “Students are creating and circulating videos, exchanging text messages, or recording and sharing misconduct (i.e., bullying, threatening, violence, etc.) as it occurs in real time.  

“This is highly disturbing and disruptive to the school environment.”

Although most of the troubling videos appear to be created outside schools, he added, they “have proven to have a significant negative impact on our students’ well-being and sense of safety, as well as the entire school environment.”

School officials, he said, cannot address the problem alone and “need parental support. We ask that you are fully attuned to your child’s social media consumption and dissemination.”

On Monday, Scarice urged anyone aware of school-related hate incidents to report them promptly to the school administration.