Wisconsin High School Students Blasted for 'Beyond Sickening' Nazi Salute in Viral Baraboo Prom Photo

A Wisconsin high school is investigating a picture showing a group of male students raising their arms in a Nazi salute. 

The picture, shared thousands of times on Twitter, appears to show about 50 teenage boys dressed in suits and standing on the steps of a building, with most raising their right arms in a salute and laughing.

“We even got the black kid to throw it up #BarabooProud,” read the tweet accompanying the picture, screenshots of the message from the now set-to-private "Welcome to Baraboo" account showed.

slack-imgs The picture circulating online allegedly shows boys at a Wisconsin high school making a Nazi salute. Twitter

The Baraboo News Republic reported that the picture was taken on the steps of Sauk County Courthouse. 

Screenshots of the picture were posted Sunday and widely shared soon afterward. 

However, not all the boys were willing participants in posing for the picture. Journalist Jules Suzdaltsev said he had received a statement from one of the boys, who said the picture was taken during junior prom for the class of 2019, and the photographer had told them to make the salute. He also mentioned widespread bullying at his school.

Suzdaltsev also claimed to have received allegations of racist bullying that the school authorities had not taken action to address. 

"I am being flooded with messages from students of this school about some of the guys in the group photo," he tweeted. 

"It sounds like there is a lot of racist bullying and the school tends to do nothing about it."

In a letter sent to parents this morning and shared on the Baraboo Schools Twitter account, superintendent Dr. Lori Mueller said that the photo was taken last spring and showed a group of Baraboo students “making extremely inappropriate gestures.”

Mueller wrote that the photo was not taken on school property or at a school-sponsored event.

In a message posted on its website Monday morning, the school wrote, “The photo of students posted to #BarabooProud is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo. We are investigating and will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address.”

In a tweet, the Baraboo City Police Department said it was aiding the school with its investigation.

“The Baraboo Police Department is aware of a controversial photo of a group of high school students that has been posted to social media. Officers are assisting the Baraboo School District with their investigation into this matter,” tweeted the department.

The Auschwitz Memorial, in a tweet, condemned the photo.

"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." 

"If @barabooSD wishes to know more about what can be the extreme result of normalization of hatred - and hatred is enrolled in this symbol - please see some online lessons dedicated to the history of Auschwitz," tweeted the memorial, linking to educational resoources about the Holocaust. 

Baraboo High School principal Brett Bildsten told Newsweek in an email that "the District is investigating at this time to determine who is all in the photo."

Bildsten did not respond to a request for comment on alleged past failures to investigate instances of racist bullying at the school. 

It is not the first time students at the school have faced such criticism. Some flew Confederate flags from their pickup trucks at a 2012 memorial for a friend, Baraboo News Republic reported. 

Join the Discussion

Editor's Pick