Don’t be fooled, they’re not sweet.
The Ku Klux Klan is attempting to lure young upstate New Yorkers using packets of white supremacist propaganda — and sweetening the deal with candy bars, according to reports.
“They come between 4 and 6 in the morning so the candy bars and packets are at the end of the driveway when kids are getting on the school bus,” Denise Szarek, a member of the Westmoreland Board of Education told KNWA, adding that the sickening campaign appears to be targeting middle and high schoolers.
“I think it really could be anyone but I think we’re naive if we think that KKK members aren’t present in our communities.”
The Ziploc bags of flyers and Snickers shocked residents of all ages in Westmoreland, Rome and other towns in Oneida County.
“The KKK is a terrorist organization, and even dropping off these materials itself is terrifying, especially when you find something like this in your driveway in the morning,” said Ron Klopfanstein, a teacher, journalist and president of the local historical society in Westmoreland.
“It requires a response, and the only way to get through that fear is to stand up and come together. I think the worst part is that a lot of kids found it on the way to the bus in the morning.”
Klopfanstein said the community has gathered to denounce the group.
“We’re a good town, we’re good people, and when something like this happens, sometimes you have to make a statement to remind people that we won’t have this here,” he said.
Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol said in a statement to WYSR that while the KKK “encourages hatred and bigotry” it is their right to leave the soliciting flyers.
On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered state police to investigate the KKK materials and called on the state police Hate Crimes task Force to kick off a campaign to counter hate.
“New York has zero tolerance for intolerance,” he said.
The state police will be helping local police and county sheriff’s offices and the task force will hold a town hall in Oneida County to discuss the issue.
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