UPDATE: Fair Lawn police charged a 19-year-old former borough employee and three juveniles with last week's video-recorded assault on a 14-year-old special needs boy in a local park.
ORIGINAL STORY: Authorities confirmed Friday morning that they are investigating an incident in which two Fair Lawn students sexually assaulted another with special needs while other youths looked on.
One boy is seen holding the 14-year-old victim by the shoulders while the other pulls his pants down to his ankles in a video shared on TikTok and Snapchat.
The boys stare at his exposed genitals for a moment and then walk away, leaving the victim -- who has autism -- standing there before he pulls up his pants.
Other students alerted parents and district administrators to the recorded assault in Berdan Park, which they allege was directed by an adult female Fair Lawn High School graduate while current and former students as young as 10 looked on.
A borough police investigation "is in the initial stages," a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the incident told Daily Voice early Friday. "Interviews are being conducted."
The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office also was notified and was monitoring the developments.
"Pantsing" in certain instances in the past has been considered a prank, but it is more often a form of bullying -- and in some instances has been prosecuted as sexual harassment and/or assault.
There's no doubt how authorities, parents and many other students in town perceive this particular incident.
"We heard about the appalling incident involving kids from the high school, including one graduate from our year, who 'pantsed' a local 13-year-old, recorded it, and then put it on social media," the Fair Lawn High School Class of 2019 wrote in an open letter Friday. "The child's crying will resonate with us for a long time."
Fair Lawn Schools Supt. Nicholas J. Norcia said district officials "are extremely upset and angered by this event."
"We have zero tolerance for such behavior," Norcia wrote in a TikTok letter to parents. "However, at this point we must first allow law enforcement to conduct their investigation.
"Because this involves juvenile students, we are limited in what we can publicly disclose," the superintendent added. "Please rest assured that the safety and well-being of our students is our top priority.
"Although it appears from information currently available to us that this incident did not occur on Fair Lawn School District property, we will deal with this situation appropriately," Norcia wrote.
"I implore you to speak to your children about the dangers of such actions and social media," he added.
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