School Officials Investigate, Consider Disciplinary Action Against Students

COMMACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Commack school officials are investigating after two pictures appeared on social media apparently showing high school students wearing T-shirts spelling out the word “rape.”

The two pictures appear to have been taken on the athletic field at Commack High School after the school’s annual “senior photo” event Thursday, the school said.

One picture shows five teenage boys wearing T-shirts spelling out “rape?” In the second photo, the shirts spell out “rape.” and a sixth boy is seen on the ground with his hands tied, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

The pictures were posted briefly on Twitter, but were removed following complaints, Rivera reported.

The school district said it’s appalled by the pictures and is weighing possible disciplinary action against the students involved.

“There is no doubt that these students showed an inexcusable lack of judgment, and their actions are taken very seriously by the entire school community,” the school said in a statement. “At this time, we are actively engaged in a comprehensive investigation to determine the full scope of this matter and whether or not this was an isolated incident.  At this time, it does appear that this is an isolated incident.  Moving forward, and upon completion of our investigation, we will take the necessary and appropriate actions including, but not limited to, disciplinary and legal action if applicable.”

“We deeply regret the turmoil caused by the actions of these students, and know that it does not reflect the values of the rest of Commack High School or the Commack community,” the school said.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, child guidance experts say the incident is a wake up call.

“Everything going on with the NFL, in terms of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault, it is offensive to use social media to joke about rape,” Alane Fagin said with the Child Abuse Prevention Services of Long Island

Many who saw the pictures said they found them upsetting.

“It doesn’t look good to me,” parent Debbie Saporta said. “I just see it and get upset.”

“I think it’s a good way to open discussions about what’s right, what’s wrong,” another parent said.

“I think it’s horrible,” said Chris, whose sister is a student at the high school. “They should be punished for this, this is not a joke,”

“They’re all great kids, some of them are athletes, good students,” Commack senior Ryan Elgar said. “It’s just unfortunate, really.”

“A lot of kids in our school really don’t make the best decisions, but they’re 17 years old,” Nick Mueller, a senior at the school, said. “When I saw it I kind of understood that this could be very bad.”

One parent said the whole incident has been blown out of proportion.

“It’s an incident that was not criminal,” the woman said. “I don’t know why a big thing is being made out of it.”

The school is providing counseling to students impacted by the incident and “will continue to educate our children regarding their personal and online actions and reactions.”

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories: