Care2 update: After a huge public backlash, the Wisconsin school district has finally responded and has refused to formally punish the boys pictured doing hateful Nazi salutes and white power hand gestures in their pre-prom photo. Officials wrote that "Because of students' First Amendment rights, the district is not in a position to punish the students for their actions".
Many of these boys are seniors and should not be allowed to move on from these acts of racism and hate without penalty. Please sign the petition and call on the Baraboo School District to alert all of the participing boys' colleges of their participation in this public display of hate.
About 50 mostly white boys decided to smile and do the Nazi salute and the white power OK symbol in their prom photo and none of them have faced any consequences.
Please join me in asking their high school to suspend the boys for using hateful hand symbols at a public school event.
Apparently the photographer thought it would be funny to ask the boys to do this and virtually every kid in the photo complied. It's not funny to use a symbol that has connected legions of violent hate criminals and genocidal leaders like Hitler.
Just the photo is bad enough, but it turns out this school also has a huge racism problem and a history of ignoring it. Current and recently graduated students are coming forward telling their personal stories of racism at school. One woman of color says she was called the N-word and nothing happened to the offender. Another person cites a student's Snapchat story where he filmed two Latino students and said "dirty Mexicans in bound," and nothing happened to him, either. Also, the day after Trump was elected, a kid yelled "White Power" in the halls, and when the administration was told, nothing happened.
The kids were obviously proud of this photo. Someone even tweeted it out and said, "we even got the black kid to throw it up #Barabooproud." But what's most shameful is that the adults around these ignorant and hateful kids seem to actually be proud. The school sent out a statement saying they don't stand for this, but it's clear that the school is actually full of racism. They also chose to put their statement on a photo of a black girl as though somehow that proves they aren't racist?
Clearly the school is fostering an environment where it's safe to be racist. Please join in demanding that every single person who did the Nazi symbol is punished.
This horrible photo was taken by the prom photographer, but some parents caught it too. It's even up on a parent's website as part of a compilation of prom photos. Obviously at least one parent thinks this was funny. Maybe they didn't hear that a bunch of people were just shot inside a synagogue. Or maybe they just don't care.
Either way, we have to make some noise and be sure these boys are punished. They are not too young to know better, and it's the adults around them who failed to ingrain any moral compass in any of them, save the one boy in the top right corner. That kid did not do the salute and has put out a statement saying he didn't have time to leave the photo, but that he's been bullied by his peers since middle school.
The reports from students of rampant racism are rolling in fast now. Check out this account for more stories and sign and share to help raise awareness.