Monday, November 12, 2018

On Veterans Day

In what can only be called jaw-dropping, about 50 boys at a Wisconsin high school - posing for prom pictures last spring - did a Sieg Heil salute (with a couple doing an "ok" white nationalism hand signal).  I note there are several boys who did NOT participate and look visibly uncomfortable.  The boys who did participate are laughing.

I am providing the link but I am not going to put up the photo.

Apparently the photographer (a professional?!) encouraged them to do this. He put this on his Facebook page and it went from there.
According to Madison365, the photo was posted in an online album of prom photos by motorcycle photographer Peter Gust and has since been removed. It was posted on Twitter Sunday night by the account @GoBaraboo with the header, “We even got the black kid to throw it up #barabooproud.”
The district also says:
It says the district has confirmed that the photo “was not taken on school property or at a school-sponsored event.”
Ok but that sure looks like an official building.

From The Capital Times: 
“The District is investigating this situation and is working with parents, staff and local authorities," reads a message to parents Monday from Baraboo School District administrator Lori Mueller. "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."
Not sure what the district can do legally.  What they did was not a crime except to the soul.  That any adult was there and said nothing is chilling.  (It might be a crime in Germany, though, where they have very strict laws about this kind of thing.) I believe that students and parents had to sign a code of conduct but it's unknown what that said.

I have to say - not going to help any of them get into college.  What a sad mistake to make.  But better earlier than later on in life. 

A letter to parents that says the salute is "extremely offensive."  That's one way of putting it.  How about frightening to Jewish students and staff?  How about shocking? How about unacceptable?

From the Auschweitz Museum via Twitter:
It is so hard to find words...

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.
There are now many students saying this is not a one-off. That racism has been part of the school - Baraboo High School  - for a long time.  Here's what one student - photographed but not saluting - courageously had to say:


As well, there was an incident on November 8th where a middle school student teacher used the "N" word. 

And this:
State Sen. John Erpenbach, D-Middleton, whose district includes Baraboo, blamed a toxic political climate.
"Unfortunately, based on what these students see coming from the White House, some of them may believe what they have done is acceptable," he said in a statement. "It is absolutely not. Leaders, from the President on down, need to condemn racism in all its forms and work toward a world where we learn from the mistakes of history.”
Yes, there's Trump as well.

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