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Wisconsin district investigates boys’ apparent Nazi salute

BARABOO, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin school district is investigating a photo of a group of high school boys giving what appears to be a Nazi salute.

Baraboo Superintendent Lori Mueller said she became aware of the photo Monday after it was posted on social media. The photo of more than 60 male students dressed in suits, some wearing boutonnieres, shows many with their right arm extended upward while posed on the steps of the Sauk County Courthouse. Mueller did not say what occasion might have brought the students together, but said the photo appears to have been taken last spring and wasn’t taken on school grounds 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,” Mueller said in a letter to parents and guardians.

“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,” Mueller’s letter continued.

The photo spread quickly on Twitter on Sunday night and Monday morning with the hashtag #barabooproud, which is often used by the district to promote its activities and athletic programs.

The Baraboo Police Department said it was helping with the district’s investigation.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland tweeted criticism of the photo.

“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,” the tweet said.

Baraboo is a town of about 12,000 residents that is about 115 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

5 comments

  1. The alleged salute might have been in poor taste but it’s kids fooling around at worst.

    What law would they possibly have broken, the same one that makes it illegal to hand out Valentine’s Day cards on school property? What business is it of the school district? It wasn’t even on school property but such comforting and self-serving words from superintendent Mueller.

    When my children went to Northwestern the school sent all the students an email saying don’t wear sombreros or drink tequila on Cinco de Mayo because it might offend students from Mexico. A student from Mexico sent an email back blasting the Northwestern administration for such a foolish admonition,saying “they are our friends and we want the American students to celebrate with us by acting like they are one of us”.

    We are becoming a nation of crybabies.

  2. Imagine being so eager to decry political correctness that when you see a group of teenagers appearing to nazi salute, rather than admonishing them you use it to feign distaste for those people taking it seriously. It doesn’t matter even if it was just poor judgment in an attempt at a morbid joke. It should be taken seriously. It’s serious.

    I understand that pushing back against anything perceived as politically correct has become a sort of ideological orthodoxy for the conservatives these days, but it’s tired at this point. Don’t spin a post about people doing something hurtful into a peremptory attack on the people they’re mocking. Have some respect for yourself.

  3. Additional news came out and what happened was the photographer said he told the boys to raise their hands toward their parents. There was nothing political about it.

  4. I understand the photographer who took the picture told the boys to raise their hands towards their parents.

  5. The “news” (as you claim) was that the photographer told the boys to “waive” to their parents. It is baffling that anyone would accept that as a reasonable explanation when looking at that photo because NOT ONE PERSON IS WAIVING IN THAT PHOTO.

    When you waive, your hand is not pointed straight out in front of your body extended with the rest of your arm in a 45 degree angle. That’s a Nazi salute. When you waive, your fingers point straight up, your arm is extended to the side of your body instead of in front of your body.

    Your defense of the kids performing a group Nazi salute is confusing.

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