Parent gives Nazi salute during debate about masks in classrooms at Birmingham school board meeting

A parent of a Birmingham student was removed from a school board meeting Tuesday after giving a Nazi salute.

The incident happened during a debate about whether masks should be required in schools.

After another parent spoke in support of masks, the man stood up, rendered the Nazi salute, and said, "Heil Hitler." School board meetings are recorded, but that portion was edited out because of the nature of the action.

"We don't want to show our children that this is OK, that it's OK for someone to get away with something this hateful," said a parent whose child attends Birmingham schools.

The parent, who is Jewish, does not want to be identified. She said she was watching the meeting on a monitor in an overflow room.

"He did a what? Because we all saw the arm go up but we had no idea what happened because we were in a separate room," she said. 

She said that the meeting continued. When the parents in the overflow room realized what happened, they found a police officer in the school and asked for the man to be removed, and the man was told to leave.

The parent who spoke with FOX 2 said the man left the meeting but stayed in a nearby hallway for about 30 minutes. That parent said she wants to press charges against the man.

"My children are Jewish. I have to show my children what you do to stand up for yourself and what's right," she said.

State lawmakers Mari Manoogian and Jeremy Moss, who are graduates of Seaholm High School and Groves High School denounced the anti-Semitic outburst.

"This community, the entire world has gone through a really traumatic past 18 months, and to have this be the reaction of a member of our community is incredibly disappointing," Manoogian said.

Moss shared a story from his family's history to exemplify the horrors of the Holocaust.

"I think about my own family history that we know of, that my great grandparents' siblings perished in the Holocaust. They literally were taken out of their homes, into a Polish field, and were forced by Nazis to dig their own graves up until the point where the Nazis shot them to death in those graves," he said. "That was the Holocaust. A Birmingham School Board Meeting is not the Holocaust."

The school district released a statement saying it is against behavior like what happened at the meeting and it will not be tolerated. It is unclear what will happen to the man. An investigation is ongoing.