California Teacher Displays Nazi Flag in Class, Sparking Investigation

A teacher at a high school in California is being investigated for allegedly displaying a Nazi flag during a lesson.

The San Juan Unified School District said it was looking into the incident, which took place at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento last week.

The teacher, who has not been named, had several flags from Germany on display in the class, including the Nazi swastika. The school district has not specified which subject was being taught.

The investigation is looking into why the teacher thought the flags "were appropriate to use" and ensuring that both the instructor and others understand it is "not an acceptable way to teach any curriculum," the school district added.

The flags have been removed from the classroom.

"The Nazi flag is a long-standing symbol of hate and does not represent the culture and values of our school or our district," the school district said in a statement.

"The symbolism of these flags is deplorable and we denounce it—hate has no place at our schools.

"We, as a district, stand for respect and inclusion. San Juan Unified is a place where all are free to learn in a safe and welcoming environment. This is an opportunity for continued education and the building of a more inclusive climate and culture throughout the district."

Rio Americano's principal, Brian Ginter, has also written a letter to parents about the incident.

"We are working to create a safe space for students to share their impact and we will have more details to share soon with students and families," Ginter said.

"Additionally, we are putting together resources and materials for Rio Americano staff to use in having conversations in their classrooms with students. Thank you for your continued support and for being a part of the Rio community."

It is not yet clear what punishment the teacher could face or if they are still teaching at the school.

Newsweek has contacted the San Juan Unified School District and Rio Americano High School for further comment.

In February 2020, Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, was criticized by parents after a slide showing Donald Trump, then president, alongside a swastika and a hammer and sickle was used during a class presentation.

The slide, in an Advanced Placement history lesson, contained the words "wants to round up a group of people and build a giant wall" above the image of Trump, along with the words "been there" and "done that" above the swastika and hammer and sickle.

"The topics being discussed included World Wars and the attempts by some leaders to limit, or prevent migration, into certain countries," Baltimore County Public Schools said in a statement at the time.

"In isolation and out of context with the lesson, the image could be misunderstood.

"This lesson was not intended to make a political statement. If a student has concerns when discussing a controversial issue, schools have the tools to address the concern and support the student."

nazi flag Rio Americano High sacremento
File photo of a man looking at a Nazi flag at a museum in the Netherlands on September 17, 2019. A teacher at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento is being investigated after reportedly displaying a Nazi flag in class. KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images