The Herricks School District and Nassau County District Attorney’s Office are investigating an incident regarding a former teacher who was removed from the district after a “disturbing and upsetting” video surfaced online.
Residents expressed concern during the Thursday night board of education meeting over the well-being of students and the next steps for the jazz band, which parents said the removed teacher was involved with.
Superintendent Tony Sinanis said the district was informed after 9 p.m. Tuesday night of a video circulating online that allegedly featured a Herricks teacher.
“The following morning, we informed legal authorities and continued investigating in an effort to ensure the safety of our students,” Sinanis said in a statement Thursday night and in an email to the district. “We also took steps to ensure that our students and staff were supported and had access to counselors if necessary.”
Sinanis said the teacher is no longer employed by the district. The Nassau County District Attorney’s office is also investigating the matter with their law enforcement partners, officials confirmed to Blank Slate Media.
“I moved to this district specifically for the music program,” said Linda, the mother of an eighth-grade trombone player. “For this to happen now was just heartbreaking and shocking.”
Sinanis told the mother and other parents who inquired that the district offers counseling in both group and individual settings.
Board of Education President James Gounaris said one person does not make the entire district win or lose, commending the students and parents who reported the incident to the district.
“We thank you for that, because without them we may not have known until the day after or the day after that,” Gounaris said. “It’s a testimony to the entire family unit in this district and also the staff members who reported it.”
“No one stands for this, no one thinks it’s tolerable,” Gounaris said.
Catalin Wong, a senior at Herricks High School, said she and her friends were shocked by the news and asked to board about the process of replacing the teacher, who parents said was involved in the jazz band.
“To every degree possible there will be a minimal disruption to the instructional program associated with the individual who is no longer employed by the district,” Sinanis said.
Gounaris said in a statement the district is very limited in terms of what information can be shared due to the incident being a personnel matter. The removed teacher’s identity was not disclosed by the district Thursday night.
According to Thursday night’s agenda, the only resignation the district approved in its personnel report that was effective Tuesday night on Sept. 19 was Geoffrey Taylor, a music teacher assigned to Herricks High School.
On Aug. 19, a YouTube video was posted by the channel “Omma” whose author said he posed as a 15-year-old girl under a fake profile on the social media app Discord and chatted with adults.
“Omma”, otherwise known as 19-year-old Kaizer Kinsley, said in the video he uses artificial intelligence to disclose the identities of adults who send their pictures to him in what he called “predator fishing.”
In the video, which has 1.2 million views on YouTube, a man under the name “Blue” with a trumpet as his profile picture tells Kinsley, who is posing as a 15-year-old female, that he is a 37-year-old male and lives in Queens.
The video goes on to show the entirety of the chat that Kinsley has with “Blue”, including graphic and sexual language and explicit pictures, which are censored in the video.
After Kinsley shares a phone number for “Blue” to call, he tells “Blue” that he discovered his name is Geoff and plans to forward their conversation to his family and the NYPD.
One comment under the video said the man in the video was their band teacher in eighth grade, with others alleging the man worked at Herricks High and Middle School.
The name of Taylor has been removed from the music department’s page on the Herricks Middle School website this week, and his page in the district’s online directory has been removed.
A previous version of this article was published, it has since been updated.