A police department in Wisconsin is assisting a school district in an investigation over a prom photo wherein dozens of male high schoolers are giving the Nazi salute.
In the photo obtained by journalist Jules Suzdaltsev, scores of male students from Baraboo High School dressed in their prom best are seen smiling and giving the salute.
According to Suzdaltsev, the students in the photo are from the Class of 2019 and it was taken during junior prom. The photo was “apparently taken by one of the parents, and is on the parent’s website as part of their collective prom photos,” he noted.
On Monday, Baraboo School District Superintendent Dr. Lori Mueller released a statement condemning all “hate” and acknowledging the photo while making it clear that it was not taken on school property.
“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,” said Mueller in the statement. “The district has confirmed at this time that the photo was not taken on school property or at a school-sponsored event.”
“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,” the statement continued.
The Baraboo Police Department announced that they are “aware” of the photo and will be helping the district with an “investigation” into the matter.
As you can imagine, the photo went viral and the backlash from people of all party affiliations came swiftly.
Democratic Senator Jon Erpenbach told the Associated Press that President Donald Trump was to blame for enabling the photo. “There’s no room in the world for anything like that at all,” he said. “From what they’re seeing out of the White House, that it’s OK to be intolerant and racist. Never is. Never was. Never will be.”
Jordan Blue, one of the students in the photo who is abstaining from giving the anti-Semitic salute, spoke to Suzdaltsev concerning the photo.
“My name is Jordan Blue, I am the boy captured in the photo to the far right,” wrote the student. “The photo was taken during out Junior Prom Photos. I clearly am uncomfortable, with what was happening. I couldn’t leave the photo as it was taken within 5 seconds. The photographer took the photos telling us to make the sign, I knew what my morals were and it was not to salute something I firmly didn’t believe in.”
“I attend BHS, these classmates have bullied me since entering middle school,” Blue continued, “I have struggled with it my entire life and nothing has changed. … nothing has been done and my question is.. [will] anything ever be done. I truly & firmly believe we need to make a change to this horrible act, it needs to stop. Bullying. Immaturity. [A]nd just taking things as a ‘joke.'”