A group of white students at Baraboo High School in Wisconsin found themselves the target of an investigation after many of them are seen in a photo giving what looks like a Nazi salute. The man who took the photograph claims he instructed the boys to wave goodbye to their parents in the staged photo, but one student who didn’t raise his hand said it made him uncomfortable.
Local outlet WISN reports:
“There was no nazi salute,” [Pete] Gust told WISN 12 NEWS. “The last picture that we did, I’d said to them, “OK, boys, you’re going to say goodbye to your parents, so wave.'”
Gust had posted the photo to his photography business website, Wheel Memories, after it was taken in May. He took it down Monday and posted an apology after it surfaced in social media posts and was shared widely, prompting strong criticism from individuals and from Jewish organizations.
In a CNN report, one Baraboo student pushed back at Gust’s view of things.
Not everyone in the photo is participating in the gesture. Jordan Blue, a student in the top right of the image whose hands are not raised, told CNN the photo was taken as students gathered at a local courthouse for professional prom photos.
“The photographer said to raise your hand, but he didn’t say a specific way, and my peers should not have raised it in the specific way that was the offensive way and hurtful way,” Blue said.
Blue said the gesture made him uncomfortable and scared.
The Baraboo School District, which does have a significant minority student body, is looking into the matter.