California School District Confirms Photo of People With Swastikas on Bodies Are Students

A California school district has confirmed that students from one of its high schools are pictured in a viral image showing people bearing swastikas on their bodies.

An investigation was launched earlier this week after an image featuring a group of eight young people posing with swastikas painted on their bodies appeared in a popular social media post. Wheatland Union High School District officials later admitted that the image featured students from Wheatland Union High School, which is located in Northern California's Yuba County.

"I can confirm that the students in the picture are Wheatland Union High School students," Wheatland Union High School District Superintendent Nicole Newman said in a Thursday letter to stakeholders obtained by Newsweek. "As a result of that confirmation, my team and I are in close communication with district legal counsel, as we take disciplinary action."

"There is no denying that, the choices made by the students in the picture were hurtful and deeply troubling," she added. "Their actions do not represent who we are as a school district and community."

Newman said that the type of punishment the students would be given would depend on "the facts yielded by the disciplinary process" and "the legal parameters we are bound by as a district."

In an earlier statement, the superintendent said that the district was "investigating multiple social media posts made by students of our school," while stressing rules against "any discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying of any student or staff member."

High School Racism Swastika Nazi California Students
Wheatland Union High School District Superintendent Nicole Newman confirmed this week that a viral photo of eight young people posing with Nazi swastikas painted on their bodies features Wheatland Union High School students. This undated file photo shows a person writing the word "racism" on a blackboard with chalk. Tero Vesalainen/Getty

The image shows the smiling students, who are all white, posing with swastikas and "SS" symbols, representing Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's paramilitary organization, painted in various places on their bodies. One of the students can be seen making an "OK" gesture, something that has been associated with white supremacists in far more recent times.

"I don't know any of the kids or who the parents are," Chris Singleton, the parent of a district student, told KOVR earlier this week. "I just say people need to be taught a bit better not to do that kind of thing."

"I would hope, already in high school, kids know what a swastika is," added local resident Duane Tubandt. "The symbol alone is how much hatred there was for a specific class of people... It was devastating how many people were killed in that genocide."

Several other similar Nazi-inspired high school hate incidents have occurred in recent years, including multiple incidents that took place in California.

Images of a 2019 party in Orange County, California that showed high school students giving Nazi salutes near a display of plastic red cups arranged in the shape of a swastika sparked outrage and a police investigation.

Earlier this year, a high school teacher in Sacramento was also investigated and placed on leave after displaying a Nazi swastika flag during a lesson, according to KCRA.