Police investigate after a high school prom photo of students doing a 'Nazi salute' surfaces
The Wisconsin school district and local police are investigating an incident at a high school prom, in which male students reenacted the Nazi salute for a group photo.
The photos, which were taken last spring but spread online earlier this week, led to further revelations being made about the school and its pupils.
The Baraboo School District are investigating the incident, which involves male students from the Baraboo High School class of 2019, "who appear to be making extremely inappropriate gestures". The Baraboo Police Department also confirmed that they were assisting in the investigation.
"If the gesture is what it appears to be, the district will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address the issue," Superintendent Lori Mueller told BuzzFeed News, as well as insisting that the photo was not taken on school property.
The photo appears to be taken at the prom by a company named Wheel Memories, which includes a 'BHS Prom Pics' section on their websites - but the photos have been deleted and replaced with the following message:
"Due [to] malevolent behavior on the part of some in society who can and do take the time to be jerks; knowingly and willingly to be jerks! The internet can be a wonderful tool but for some there is an overwhelming urge to destroy. The destruction may not be physical but instead it can be bullying that is intellectual or emotional. To anyone that was hurt I sincerely apologize. To those who have harmed them, we as society often ignore them I have chosen not to do that. YOU ARE JERKS! Grow UP!"
The statement ends with a plea to "Be kind, Be gentle, Be civil!"
However, the deleted photos were later found on the archived page for the websites, and were shared online. The photo was first posted by the '@GoBaraboo' Twitter account on Sunday, with the caption: “We even got the black kid to throw it up #barabooproud.”
The image shows students conducting the Nazi salute and one student can be seen making the okay sign, an action which is often used as a white power symbol by far-right trolls. The '@GoBaraboo' account where the photo originated from was later deleted.
Eventually, the official Auschwitz Memorial account caught wind of the photo and responded.
Jules Suzdaltsev, whose tweets about the photo have been making the rounds this week, later shared a statement from one of the students in the photo.
Jordan Blue, who claims to be one of the only students in the photo who refused to make the offensive gesture, claimed that it was the photographer's idea. Blue was uncomfortable doing the salute as it was "something I firmly didn’t believe in."
According to Blue, many of the students in the photo had bullied him, but nothing was ever done about it. In addition to this, Suzdaltsev shared various accounts from other students at the high school, who revealed that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Aside from this obviously offensive photo, it has been claimed that many of the students indulged in racist behaviour, with cited incidents including frequent use of the N-word, 'white power' chants and racist posts about Native American, black, and Mexican students on social media.
The stories just keep coming:
And some students took issue with the administration itself:
Hopefully, the school can investigate what exactly has been going on, and clamp down on this sort of abhorrent behaviour.