BARABOO, Wis. (KMSP) - A Wisconsin school district is investigating a photo circulating on social media of a group of students doing an apparent Nazi salute.
The photo shows more than 60 male students dressed in suits, many with their right arm extended upward. The Baraboo School District said the photo appears to have been taken last spring, although it was not taken on school property or at a school-sponsored event.
The photo is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of Baraboo School District, the school district said.
In a letter to parents, Superintendent Lisa Mueller said 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 Auschwitz Memorial in Poland, which preserves the site of the former German Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp, responded to the photo on Twitter, saying, “It is so hard to find words...this is why every single day we work hard to educate."
It is so hard to find words...— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 12, 2018
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
The Baraboo Police Department is assisting with the investigation.
Full letter to parents from the Baraboo School District
Dear Parents/Guardians of Baraboo School District Students:
Early this morning, a photo that was taken last spring of some Baraboo School District students who appear to be making extremely inappropriate gestures began circulating on social media. The District has confirmed at this time that the photo was not taken on school property or at a school-sponsored event.
The school district is investigating this situation and is working with parents, staff and 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.
With that, we want to be very clear: the Baraboo School District is a hate-free environment where all people, regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ancestry, are respected and celebrated.
Dr. Lori Mueller, Superintendent