BARABOO, Wis. – The superintendent of the Baraboo School District is reminding parents and students that their school is a “hate-free environment” after a photo of students executing what appeared to be a Nazi salute was circulated on social media channels.
The post – which has since been deleted – was tweeted about 9 p.m. Sunday. It showed a large group of young men on the steps of a building, dressed up and making what appeared to be a Nazi salute.
It is so hard to find words…
This is why every single day we work hard to educate. We need to explain what is the danger of hateful ideology rising. Auschwitz with its gas chambers was at the very end of the long process of normalizing and accommodating hatred. https://t.co/13AzZaMGJR
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 12, 2018
The caption on the tweet ends with “#barabooproud.”
— Dannika Lewis (@DannikaLewis) November 12, 2018
Since then, the post has gotten the attention of thousands of people on Twitter, and the Baraboo School District has posted announcements on its website and sent a letter home to parents.
The message sent to parents from Superintendent Lori Mueller called the gestures “extremely inappropriate,” and said that the district is investigating the situation and is working with local authorities.
“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,” the letter said.
Mueller said the district has confirmed that the photo was not taken on school property or at a school-sponsored event.
The photo of students posted to #BarabooProud is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo. The District will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address.
— Lori M. Mueller (@LoriMMueller) November 12, 2018
Mueller said earlier Monday morning that the photo is “completely unacceptable.” She said the district is “very concerned” about the image, adding the gesture is certainly not endorsed by the district.
Until Monday morning, the pictures were still available on the WheelMemories photography website. They have since been deleted and replaced with a message from the company.
It said it part, “Due (to) malevolent behavior on the part of some in society; this page has been modified. It is too bad that there are those in society who can and do take the time to be jerks; knowingly and willingly to be jerks!”
Until this morning the picture of BHS students doing the Nazi salute was still available on the photographer’s website. It has been deleted and replaced with this message. It’s unclear who is being referred to as “jerks”… #news3 pic.twitter.com/DPP2tSj2wK
— Amanda Quintana (@AmandaQTV) November 12, 2018
The posted message also included an apology: “To anyone that was hurt I sincerely apologize.”
A representative with the Baraboo Police Department said they are officially looking into the incident, but wouldn’t comment on what the criminal charges could be.
Stay with News 3 for the latest on this story and the response from the district, students and parents.
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