High Schoolers Made a Racist Deepfake of a Principal Threatening Black Students

In one of the deepfake videos, the principal appeared to shout a string of racist slurs, including calling Black students “monkeys,” before threatening a mass shooting.
High school students in New York created a racist deepfake involving a nearby middle school ​principal.
High school students icreated a racist deepfake involving a nearby middle school principal. (TikTok)

Three high school students just north of New York City posted videos on TikTok that appeared to show a nearby middle school principal and a member of law enforcement making virulently violent and racist remarks about Black students. The thing was, the videos weren’t real. They were deepfakes, videos that were significantly altered to appear like these individuals, and created by high school students from Carmel High School.


In one of the videos reviewed by VICE News, the deepfake shows the principal of nearby  George Fischer Middle School, John Piscitella, shouting a string of racist slurs, including calling Black students “monkeys” and saying they would be sent back to Africa. The racist rant, which was filled with the n-word, ended with a threat:

“I hope these n*****s get shot because they just don’t learn,” the video states. “I am bringing my machine gun to school. I’m going to Ronnie McNutt this bitch and all those n****s.” McNutt is the name of a man who went viral on Facebook in August 2020 for livestreaming his own death by suicide.

In a second video, a deepfake that imitated a member of the sheriff’s office spouted a string of racist slurs and threatened: “I'll hang you like the KKK. The KKK legacy will return.”

The videos, which were originally posted by the students from Carmel High School last month, were taken down and the school authorities condemned the “blatant racism.”  However, most of the parents never saw the full videos before they were deleted and most were completely unaware of the specific and racist threats made against Black students. Some parents in recent days have publicly condemned the school authorities’ lack of actions, claiming that these videos are part of a wider problem of racist behavior in the district’s schools, and that law enforcement has failed to take the threats made in the videos seriously enough.


Now, parents are angry at the high school’s failure to take the threats seriously, plan to file a lawsuit against the school authorities.   

“The whole school system did not give proper notice to the parents, in fact they gave no notice to the parents that there was a terrorist threat to the school,” Arthur Schwartz, an attorney who is representing the parents, told VICE News.

If you have any information about these deepfake videos and the school district’s response, please send tips to David Gilbert at For Signal, DM @Daithaigilbert on Twitter.

The videos were first reported to school authorities on Feb. 12. On Feb. 15, the Carmel Central School District Board of Education, which oversees both the Carmel High School and George Fischer Middle School, issued a statement that said the incident involved “fake, inappropriate videos created using artificial intelligence and impersonating different members of the District administration and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.”

The statement also said the students who posted the videos would be “dealt with in accordance with the District’s Code of Conduct,” but the district has since refused to elaborate on the punishment. 

“The fact that we weren't warned that our kids were in any kind of threat or danger in the moment is not OK," Pierre Claude, a parent of a Carmel middle-schooler, told local paper the Journal News last week.


Schwartz says that the school authorities should have taken much more decisive action.  “They didn't act properly, like most schools would do,” Schwartz said. “When a threat is made like that, the first thing that they should be doing is closing the school, informing all the parents about the nature of the threat, adding extra security, and making sure that law enforcement has addressed the threat.”

Instead, the schools in the district remained open and no extra security was provided to the schools. “They didn't treat it like it was a serious threat,” Schwartz said.

On Monday night, dozens of parents expressed their anger at a school meeting over the school’s lack of adequate communication about the situation and their fear of the threats being made at the school.

“There were a lot of questions from parents who didn't understand why the school was so vague about informing the parents about what had transpired about these threats,” Norma Perera, a parent in the district who attended the meeting, told VICE News.

Officials from the Putnam County Sheriff’s office were also present at the meeting Monday night, Perera said they failed to answer parents’ questions about why the videos did not constitute a criminal act.

“If you let stuff like that go without addressing it as a crime then it just encourages others to post stuff like that online,” Schwartz told VICE News.

And parents in both Carmel and neighboring Mahopac Central School District told VICE News of a history of racism in schools that goes back decades.


"[Racism in schools] is definitely a pattern, it's been going on for a long time and these kids aren't getting these ideas by themselves, this is in the home setting,” Ryan Beckwith, a parent of a Mahopac student told VICE News. 

Perera, whose three children went through the Carmel school system in recent decades, said the meeting on Monday night about the racist videos was overwhelming because it brought up memories of the attacks her own children had faced. “My children were part of systemic racism and bullying because of who they were,” Perera said. “It is very upsetting. It is deteriorating the hope that I had realizing that there is still so much to fight for.”

VICE News learned of another, previously unreported incident that bears a lot of similarities to the situation at the Carmel Central School District  that occurred in a neighboring school district last weekend.

On Sunday, the superintendent of Mahopac Central School District, five miles west of Carmel, issued a note to parents of Mahopac Middle School making them aware of a racist threat made by one of the district’s students against a teacher and Black students in the district.

The threat was made in a snapchat group chat entitled “Middle School” according to a screengrab of the comment. According to one parent with a child in the district, the group chat was taking place while the participants were playing a video game online.


In the chat, a user named B_SLAVE2023 wrote “I’m shooting up the school” before adding: “what I’m going to do first is rape every 6a teacher….then kill your n***a asses.”

Once the school authorities became aware of the issue on Sunday, they alerted the Carmel Police Department and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. 

“This was investigated immediately and the student has been identified. Law enforcement has deemed it to be a non-credible threat and they have  indicated that there are no safety concerns against any student or staff member,” superintendent Christine Tona wrote in her statement to parents. 

Despite the police finding no credible threat, the sheriff’s office provided additional officers at the middle school on Monday.

The Mahopac Central School District did not respond to a request for comment about the incident or to clarify if the student involved had been disciplined.

The Carmel Central School District Board of Education refused to answer VICE News’ questions about the incident, citing internal policies and saying that Mary-Margaret Zehr, the district’s superintendent, was the person who responded to press inquiries. Zehr did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

On Tuesday night, at the Carmel Central School District board’s monthly meeting, Zehr did, however, speak about her findings from the two public meetings held with concerned parents over the last week. She also outlined several steps the school district will be taking to address shortcomings in their handling of this situation, including improved communications systems, and “an anonymous alert system that allows students to anonymously report issues and concerns.”