Wisconsin school investigated after students perform Nazi salute 'for junior prom photo'

'We even got the black kid to throw it up,' says post accompanying image

Tom Embury-Dennis
Monday 12 November 2018 23:36 GMT
A group of young men, thought to be from a Wisconsin high school, perform Nazi salutes
A group of young men, thought to be from a Wisconsin high school, perform Nazi salutes

A school in Wisconsin is being investigated after a photo emerged showing dozens of students apparently performing Nazi salutes.

The image surfaced on Twitter after it was shared by an account named “Welcome to Baraboo”. The post – now deleted – was captioned: “We even got the black kid to throw it up."

It shows more than 50 young men in suits smiling and laughing on the steps of the county courthouse in Baraboo, a town of around 10,000 people. Most of them are lifting their right arms above their head, apparently to mimic the 'Sieg Heil' greeting popularised in Hitler's Germany.

A man in the front row can also be seen forming his index finger and thumb into an "ok" sign, a symbol co-opted by followers of far-right and white supremacist movements.

The huge majority of the group appear to be white, and all but a few appear to performing the salute. Only one of those shown in the photo is neither performing the salute, nor laughing.

Lori Mueller, the school district superintendent in Baraboo, told The Independent she was investigating the image.

“The photo of students posted to #BarabooProud is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo,” she said. “We are investigating and will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address.”

Ms Mueller confirmed there was only one secondary school in the district; Baraboo High School.

In a letter to parents on Monday, Ms Mueller said the photo was taken "last spring" and features Baraboo students "who appear to be making extremely inappropriate gestures".

"The Baraboo School District is a hate-free environment where all people, regardless of race, colour, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ancestry," it read.

A former student who graduated earlier this year told The Independent the image was taken in May and features mostly boys who were in 11th grade at the time, which would mean they were then aged 16 and 17.

"This is definitely not the first time this sort of problematic, hurtful behaviour was given no punishment," she said.

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In a statement on Facebook, the Baraboo police department said it was "aware of a controversial photo of a group of high school students that has been posted to social media" and was also investigating.

"Officers are assisting the Baraboo School District with their investigation into this matter," it added.

Baraboo High School could not be reached for comment.

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