"There were adults who should have stood up and said, 'Hey, guys, this is not OK. Blackface is not OK. Is it illegal? No. But you should really not do that,'" Matthew Dishler, 24, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Rose Garrity, executive director of A New Hope Center, an agency in nearby Oswego County that assists victims of domestic and sexual abuse and other crimes, also put responsibility on the adults.
"They were trying to make something funny that is far from funny, and they were being incredibly racist while they were doing it," Garrity said. "I doubt any of those children had any idea about the history of racism and minstrels or anything like that."
Garrity said her agency has been working with Waverly and other districts on anti-violence and anti-bullying programs and would continue its outreach.
"Domestic violence isn't funny," Garrity said. "Three women every day are killed in this country by the man they're partnered with. It's anything but funny."