"Nazi salute" protected by first amendment: Baraboo officials say


BARABOO, WI – Citing First Amendment rights, school district officials in Baraboo said they are not in a position to punish a group of students who were photographed while they showed up for a Nazi salute last spring at the Sauk County Courthouse.

After a 10-day investigation, school officials said they would not punish students in the picture.

"As stated earlier, we can not know the intentions in the hearts of those who were involved," Mueller wrote in the letter. "In addition, because of the First Amendment rights of students, the district is not in a position to punish students for their actions."

At stake was a photograph taken by photographer Peter Gust during the school prom. A group of students dressed in formal suits stood on the steps of the county court of Sauk County, with many holding their right arms extended in what appeared to be a Nazi salute. According to Madison.com, the photo was taken in May 2018 before the ball and included a mix of past and current students from Baraboo High School. In comments to the media, Gust said he told the students to "say goodbye to their parents".

In a statement to Jules Suzdaltsev, A student who declined to greet said the students were, in fact, asked to greet. Jordan Blue, who appears in the upper right corner of the photo, said the photographer, who was not sanctioned or paid for by the district, told the students "to signal" and that Blue did not have time to leave because the image "was taken in. five seconds. "

The indignation with the photo, which reached social networks in November, was wide and pronounced as local and national reactions condemned the action.

A coalition led by the Jewish Federation of Milwaukee and hoping to work with the Baraboo School District to prevent future incidents, such as that registered by a graduation photographer earlier this year:

"We are alarmed by the disturbing demonstration of anti-Semitism by a group of students at Baraboo High School." Although the incident apparently occurred last May, it reflects a growing wave of anti-Semitism and other forms of fanaticism. worried about the prevalence of fanaticism in schools, more than 25 percent of all registered anti-Semitic incidents in Wisconsin last year happened among students or on campus … As we all know, acts of hatred begin with expressions of hatred. for schools and families to educate young people to respect diversity and embrace difference. The values ‚Äč‚Äčthat will unite us must be taught and strengthened so that we can not see the continuing rise in hatred and its consequences. "

Local groups sought to bring new energy to their community soon after the photo was published. Singing "love, not hatred," community members gathered outside the Sauk County Court the next day in a show of solidarity.

About 100 people shouted at the hatred and soft signals that defended love and peace. Local photographer Stephanie Shanks said she felt motivated to organize a new group photo.

District Reversal Course in Nazi Salute Photo

Initially, the Baraboo School District said it planned to take any and all measures, including legal measures, to punish students in the photo.

In a letter sent to families the morning after the photo was published, Superintendent Lori Mueller said the photo was taken last spring from a group of Baraboo students. The letter read in part:

"Early this morning, a picture taken last spring of some Baraboo School District Students who appear to be making extremely inappropriate gestures have begun to circulate on social networks The district has confirmed that the photo was not taken on school property or at an event sponsored by the school.

The Baraboo Police Department said they were also conducting a photo investigation at the request of the school district.

A student refuses to greet

Jordan Blue, the only student who appeared in the photo that did not participate in the gesture, reacted publicly to the photo on Twitter.

"My name is Jordan Blue, I'm the kid captured in the photo on the right." The picture was taken during our graduation photos. seconds, "he said on Twitter. "The photographer took the pictures telling us to make the sign.I knew what my morals were and it was not to greet something I did not believe in.I go to BHS and these colleagues intimidated me since entering high school.I have fought with it all my life and nothing has changed. "

Photo Credit (Peter Gust via AP) In this May 2018 photo provided by Peter Gust, a group of Wisconsin boys sits on the steps outside the Sauk County Courthouse in Baraboo, Wis. The image attracted widespread condemnation because of the appearance some of the students are making a Nazi salute. Gust, who has a child in the picture, denies that he intended to offend anyone and says he is waving to his parents before they go to the ball.

Get the Waukesha newsletter



Source link