A large group of boys at a rural Wisconsin high school prom was photographed displaying what appears to be the Nazi salute, prompting international outrage and a local investigation.
In the photo, more than 50 boys from Baraboo, pose on outdoor steps. The vast majority are shown hoisting their right arms stiff and straight into the air, fingers pointed out, as Nazis did in Adolf Hitler's Germany. One boy in the front row has his arms down but his right hand is forming the OK sign, a symbol adopted by the white power movement.
The photo was posted Sunday on Twitter by an account called @GoBaraboo, with the caption, "We even got the black kid to throw it up #BarabooProud." That account has since been made private.
Lori Mueller, the Baraboo School District superintendent, wrote to parents Monday, saying the photo was taken last spring. She said it 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," she wrote.
In a Twitter post Monday, Mueller added: "The photo of students posted to #BarabooProud is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo."
The police department in Baraboo, about 40 miles north of Madison, Wisconsin, said on Twitter it is aware of the photo and officers are assisting the school district with its investigation.
As the picture spread Monday on Twitter, outrage was widely registered, including from the Auschwitz Memorial account. Auschwitz was the site of a Nazi concentration and extermination camp in occupied Poland.
"It is so hard to find words," the memorial's tweet said. "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 photo appears to have been posted originally on the website of a local photographer, whose business is called Wheel Memories. The photographer could not be immediately reached for comment. An archived version of the photographer's website shows the photo in question, along with about 50 other images in a section labeled "BHS Prom Pic's." On Monday, the page had been updated with an explanation of sorts and an apology.
"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! The internet can be a wonderful tool but for some there is an overwhelming urge to destroy," the site now says. "To anyone that was hurt I sincerely apologize. To those who have harmed them, we as society often ignore them I have chosen not to do that. YOU ARE JERKS! Grow up!"
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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