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A high school in Wisconsin is currently under investigation after a class photo showing some students from Baraboo School District performing the Nazi salute surfaced online.

The image, taken before the boys’ junior prom, was initially shared by Twitter account @GoBaraboo with the caption, “We even got the black kid to throw it up.”

The now-deleted post shows a group of young men in suits smiling and laughing on the steps of the Sauk County Courthouse. Majority are seen lifting their right arms above their head to emulate the ‘Sieg Heil’, a greeting popularized by Hitler.

Former student Carly Sidey managed to re-share the image on Twitter with the caption, “[T]his post has since been deleted, but [I] just want @barabooSD to be aware of the disturbing actions that are represented in this photograph. [T]his is beyond sickening.”

this post has since been deleted, but i just want @barabooSD to be aware of the disturbing actions that are represented in this photograph. this is BEYOND sickening. pic.twitter.com/Fer5heTted

— carly sidey (@CarlySidey) November 12, 2018

It was subsequently picked up by journalist Jules Suzdaltsev, who decided to investigate the photo’s origins. Apparently, the image was captured by photographer Pete Gust of Wheel Memories, who happens to be a parent of one of the boys.

If anybody from Baraboo High School in Wisconsin can clue me in on why it appears the entire male class of 2018 is throwing up a Sig Heil during their prom photos – that would be great.

h/t @CarlySidey pic.twitter.com/BL8lDVLMA4

— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) November 12, 2018

Gust removed the image from the Wheel Memories’ website after it garnered controversy online. The page was updated with the message, “Due to malevolent behavior on the part of some in society; this page has been modified. It is too bad that there are those in society who can and do take the time to be jerks; knowingly and willingly to be jerks!”

“The internet can be a wonderful tool but for some there is an overwhelming urge to destroy. The destruction may not be physical but instead, it can be bullying that is intellectual or emotional. To anyone that was hurt I sincerely apologize. To those who have harmed them, we as society often ignore them I have chosen not to do that. YOU ARE JERKS! Grow up!”

Gust told Madison365 that he did not ask the boys to perform the Nazi salute, but rather, simply asked them to “give a high sign,” such as a wave to their parents. He even demonstrated the gesture, and told the publication that he did not instruct the boys to salute anything.

However, one boy inside the photo who had refused to follow suite has refuted Gust’s claim. The boy, who is named Jordan Blue and stands in the top right corner of the image, explained in a statement to Suzdaltsev that he was uncomfortable with the pose, as he knew what his morals were and was not going to salute something he did not believe in.

Blue said Gust had told the boys to raise one hand, and they proceeded to pose in what appears to be the Nazi salute. He said he had felt “upset, unsafe, disappointed and scared” because in spite of knowing it was wrong, the boys did it anyway.

I spoke with the only student who is visibly not comfortable with the “salute”, he provided this statement. pic.twitter.com/HbNBc8xLOK

— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) November 12, 2018

Baraboo School District has weighed in on the controversy and sent a letter to the students’ parents in response to the photo, which has since garnered a great deal of attention online.

The image further captured the attention of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial—devoted to the victims who died at the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

In a tweet, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial wrote, “It is so hard to find words… This is why every single day we work hard to educate. We need to explain what is the danger of hateful ideology rising. Auschwitz with its gas chambers was at the very end of the long process of normalizing and accommodating hatred.”

On Facebook, the Baraboo Police Department announced that it was “aware of a controversial photo of a group of high school students that has been posted to social media” and has started investigating the matter.

The Baraboo School District sent the following letter to parents this afternoon in response to a photo circulating on social media. pic.twitter.com/0IXNUdLeRD

— Baraboo Schools (@barabooSD) November 12, 2018

It is so hard to find words…

This is why every single day we work hard to educate. We need to explain what is the danger of hateful ideology rising. Auschwitz with its gas chambers was at the very end of the long process of normalizing and accommodating hatred. https://t.co/13AzZaMGJR

— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 12, 2018

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The Baraboo Police Department is aware of a controversial photo of a group of high school students that has been posted…

Posted by Baraboo Police Department on Monday, November 12, 2018

[via PetaPixel, opening image via Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/402397/High-School-Class-Photo-Of-Nazi-Salute-Starts-Police-Investigation/

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