In a photo that’s going viral on Twitter, a group of mostly white Baraboo High School students pose for a junior prom photo while holding their right hands up in the Sieg Heil, which was a salute commonly used by the Nazis. Some of the students are also seen giving the okay sign for white power.
Posted by former Baraboo student Carly Sidey on Sunday night, the photo, which was taken this past spring, has since been deleted. In the original tweet, however, Sidey wrote, “I just want [Baraboo School District] to be aware of the disturbing actions that are represented in this photograph. This is BEYOND sickening.”
The school district, located northwest of Madison, Wisc., quickly took action. “The photo of students posted to #BarabooProud is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo,” superintendent Lori Mueller wrote in a tweet early Monday morning.
Parents also received a letter from the district, reassuring them that they were taking the matter seriously. It stated that Baraboo “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 Baraboo School District sent the following letter to parents this morning in response to a photo circulating on social media. We are launching an investigation, and as such, are unable to provide additional details at this time. pic.twitter.com/oRxcl82lJT
— Baraboo Schools (@barabooSD) November 12, 2018
Currently, the Baraboo Police Department is investigating the case along with the school district, promising to “pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address the issue.”
Only one student, seen in the top right corner of the picture in a red bow tie and identified as Jordan Blue, refused to participate. In a statement, he said “I knew what my morals were and it was not to salute something I firmly didn’t believe in.”
I spoke with the only student who is visibly not comfortable with the “salute”, he provided this statement. pic.twitter.com/HbNBc8xLOK
— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) November 12, 2018
The disturbing photo is also getting attention from political leaders, like Wisconsin state representative Dave Considine, who expressed concern about racism and prejudice in both Baraboo and the country as a whole: “I hope we use this incident as an opportunity to take a serious, critical look at the differences between our stated values and the behaviors we see in our community.”