Wisconsin school district to hold community program after class’ ‘Nazi salute’ photo

A member of the Ku Klux Klan salutes during American Nazi Party rally at Valley Forge National Park September 25, 2004 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

After a controversial photo of students from Baraboo High School in Wisconsin throwing up what appears to be a Nazi salute went viral, school administrators pieced together a plan to host community meetings to address widespread concerns about the students racist gesture, the NY Post reports.

Baraboo Superintendent Lori Mueller sent a letter to parents Wednesday about preliminary plans to meet with civic, community and faith leaders and said more info is forthcoming and will be “shared as soon as possible.”

Mueller apologized for the students’ offensive action saying: “We are so sorry that the actions of some of our students so understandably and deeply hurt people around the world.”

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This week, there was public outrage after the photo circulated widely online apparently showing a group of white high school boys giving a Nazi salute on the steps of a county courthouse in Central Wisconsin. However, the parent who took the picture says it’s all one big misunderstanding.

Tuesday, photographer Pete Gust, whose son is also included in the shot, was featured on Good Morning America and explained that the 60 boys standing outside the Sauk County Courthouse in Baraboo last spring, innocently had their arms extended to wave goodbye.

“There was nothing intended in any way shape or form to simulate anything that was offensive to anyone,” Gust told The Associated Press. “If there’s any error, it was me in timing the shot.”

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However, Jordan Blue, one of the few boys in the picture who didn’t raise his arm, says he believes some of the students actually did intend to make the Nazi salute.

“It was very disrespectful to what my beliefs are,” Blue told the CBS News. “It was a very bad representation of the senior class and the Baraboo School District, because by all means, the Baraboo School District does not support that kind of actions and it is a district that provides many opportunities for the students. This is something that I will never forget.”

Since it has come to their attention, the Baraboo school district has called in local police to help them investigate the incident.