The video – titled ‘Hitler Gang’ – was reported to the Grinnell Police Department by a concerned resident around 7:50am on Wednesday morning.
It was posted to multiple social media platforms.
The TikTok shows male students walking through a school hallway ‘in a goose-step style manner with their right arms extended and palms down,’ according to police. It’s not clear if it was filmed at their own school.
Police are investigating a TikTok video created by middle school students called ‘Hitler Gang’
The video appeared to show students marching and acting in mannerisms reminiscent of Nazis
The video was also posted with a number of derogatory and homophobic hashtags
The mannerisms are similar to the way Nazis typically marched.
The video was also posted with several hashtags that were racist and derogatory, including ‘#DONTBEAJEW,’ ‘#IHATEJEWS,’ and ‘#IHATEGAYPEOPLE.’
The Des Moines Register reports Ori Zaret, 14, was a direct recipient of the video on Tuesday morning and may have been targeted due to his Jewish faith and transgender identity.
‘There aren’t that many Jews in Grinnell to begin with, let alone LGBTQ Jews,’ father Elliott Zaret told the newspaper.
‘That’s why it seems so much more specifically targeted towards Ori.’
‘Now I’m kind of scared to go to school,’ Ori, who is an eighth grade student at Grinnell Middle School, told KCCI this week. ‘I don’t really remember doing much of anything to them. So, it’s kind of confuses me.’
After Ori told his parents – who moved to Grinnell in January – about the video, they turned to staff members at Grinnell-Newberg Community School District.
‘These kids need to know this is not what our community finds acceptable,’ Zoe Zaret said. ‘This is not what our country finds acceptable.’
‘We were not going to stand for this one bit,’ Elliot Zaret added.
The students involved in the video were punished by the school district, although it’s not clear what discipline they received.
The district’s anti-bullying policy states that suspension and expulsion are options for harassing incidents.
Ori Zaret, 14, was a direct recipient of the video on Tuesday morning
Ori is pictured with their parents, who reported the video to the school
‘When incidences like this happen, you know, it’s not going to be tolerated,’ said Grinnell-Newburg Superintendent Janet Stutz (pictured)
‘When incidences like this happen, you know, it’s not going to be tolerated,’ said Grinnell-Newburg Superintendent Janet Stutz.
Stutz added to the Des Moines Register, ‘This family is new to our community. This is not how we welcome our new families.’
The Grinnell Police Department is continuing to investigate the incident.
‘The Grinnell Police Department is investigating this incident vigorously and we are committed to ensuring our students are safe and secure while attending school, and in their community,’ the police said in a release.
Additionally, the school staff is working on an ‘action plan’ to address the incident with students.
Stutz advised teachers to ‘take the moment in your class to say, ‘Hey, if this is going on in my room, this is not allowed.’ Take the time to have a teachable moment.’
It’s not clear if the video was shot at Grinnell Middle School (pictured)
Previously, Ori had also reported students for making anti-black comments, but teachers claimed they couldn’t do anything without proof.
Ori has also had previous run-ins with the same students who were responsible for the video.
It appears the TikTok has since been removed.