A California school district has confirmed that students from one of its high schools are pictured in a viral image showing people bearing swastikas on their bodies.
An investigation was launched earlier this week after an image featuring a group of eight young people posing with swastikas painted on their bodies appeared in a popular social media post. Wheatland Union High School District officials later admitted that the image featured students from Wheatland Union High School, which is located in Northern California’s Yuba County.
« I can confirm that the students in the picture are Wheatland Union High School students, » Wheatland Union High School District Superintendent Nicole Newman said in a Thursday letter to stakeholders obtained by Newsweek. « As a result of that confirmation, my team and I are in close communication with district legal counsel, as we take disciplinary action. »
« There is no denying that, the choices made by the students in the picture were hurtful and deeply troubling, » she added. « Their actions do not represent who we are as a school district and community. »
Newman said that the type of punishment the students would be given would depend on « the facts yielded by the disciplinary process » and « the legal parameters we are bound by as a district. »
In an earlier statement, the superintendent said that the district was « investigating multiple social media posts made by students of our school, » while stressing rules against « any discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying of any student or staff member. »
The image shows the smiling students, who are all white, posing with swastikas and « SS » symbols, representing Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s paramilitary organization, painted in various places on their bodies. One of the students can be seen making an « OK » gesture, something that has been associated with white supremacists in far more recent times.
« I don’t know any of the kids or who the parents are, » Chris Singleton, the parent of a district student, told KOVR earlier this week. « I just say people need to be taught a bit better not to do that kind of thing. »
« I would hope, already in high school, kids know what a swastika is, » added local resident Duane Tubandt. « The symbol alone is how much hatred there was for a specific class of people… It was devastating how many people were killed in that genocide. »
Several other similar Nazi-inspired high school hate incidents have occurred in recent years, including multiple incidents that took place in California.
Images of a 2019 party in Orange County, California that showed high school students giving Nazi salutes near a display of plastic red cups arranged in the shape of a swastika sparked outrage and a police investigation.
Earlier this year, a high school teacher in Sacramento was also investigated and placed on leave after displaying a Nazi swastika flag during a lesson, according to KCRA.