A Wisconsin school district has apologized after an image of its now-senior year class was discovered by a Twitter user in which the male students of that class were shown throwing up a Nazi-style salute during prom last spring.
Twitter user Carly Sidey (@CarlySidey) discovered the photograph that was taken in downtown Baraboo, Wisconsin, during the high school’s prom season. It shows dozens of boys from the class of 2019, many smiling, pointing their hands in the air in a manner reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
Sidey first retweeted the account @GoBaraboo, which had found the picture and had captioned it #barabooproud. “This is BEYOND sickening,” Sidey wrote in her quoted message of the retweet on Sunday night.
The account @GoBaraboo describes itself as a parody account that depicts life in the area. It has since deleted the original tweet, however, and is now a restricted, private account.
Although its description in its profile deems it a parody account, the Baraboo School District itself seemed to acknowledge the authenticity of the image in a statement it made denouncing the hateful gesture. “The photo of students posted to #BarabooProud is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo,” District Administrator Lori Mueller wrote in a tweet that was shared by the district’s account. “The District will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address.”
The photo of students posted to #BarabooProud is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo. The District will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address.
— Lori M. Mueller (@LoriMMueller) November 12, 2018
The image was apparently posted to a group by parents who wanted to share images of the prom with one another.
Sidey took a screenshot of the original tweet, allowing users to see the deleted content after it was taken down by the original account that had put it up. “We even got the black kid to throw it up,” the tweet had been captioned.
— carly sidey (@CarlySidey) November 12, 2018
Lest anyone is confused about the intent of the students in the photograph, a reporter with the Young Turks, Jules Suzdaltsev, zoomed in on the picture further to reveal one of the teens giving the “OK” hand signal, a sign that has been co-opted by white supremacists in recent years.
This kid dead-center is literally doing the "white power okay sign". pic.twitter.com/qyHnf1GzRt
— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) November 12, 2018
Suzdaltsev in a separate tweet added that many individuals had reached out to express that this incident wasn’t an isolated one:
“I am being flooded with messages from students of this school about some of the guys in the group photo.”
White supremacy and nationalism seem to be creeping into the “Driftless Area,” as the southwest corner of Wisconsin is known as (due to the fact that the prehistoric glaciers never reached the region). In October, just a week before the midterm elections was set to occur, someone illegally dropped off nationalist fliers in people’s mailboxes in several towns and villages in the area.
The community responded with a “Hate Has No Home Here” sign campaign of its own to showcase the area’s distaste with the attitudes expressed in the fliers, according to reporting from the Baraboo News Republic.