School Won’t Punish Students for Nazi Salute in Prom Photo Because of The ‘First Amendment’

School Won’t Punish Students for Nazi Salute in Prom Photo Because of The ‘First Amendment’

A Wisconsin school district said it will not punish students who did a Nazi salute in a prom photo because of the First Amendment, The Wisconsin State Journal reports.

Baraboo School District Administrator Lori Mueller said in a letter to the school community that a 10-day investigation into the photo left “some key details” unclear.

“As previously stated, we cannot know the intentions in the hearts of those who were involved,” Mueller wrote. “Moreover, because of students’ First Amendment rights, the district is not in a position to punish the students for their actions.”

The photo was taken in May by a parent before the school’s prom. The parent, Peter Gust, was not hired to take photos and some of the students in the photo no longer attend the school.

School district apologizes for photo:

"Regardless of the details of the photo or the intentions in the hearts of those involved, the truth is this is an image that has rightly been described as hateful, frightening and disappointing,” Mueller previously wrote in a statement to the school community. "We are so very sorry that the actions of some of our students so understandably and deeply hurt people around the world. We have heard from families whose loved ones were lost in death camps, who fought in the war against such evil and who rightly cannot imagine that an image like this exists in our modern day."

College officials warns photo may have other repercussions:

Though the school district will not punish the student, Stefanie Niles, the president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and an enrollment official at Ohio Wesleyan University warned that college administrators may see the photo.

"This could very well have an impact on their ability to get into college," she told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Everything has a reverberating effect. I think a lot of those young men will have a variety of responses from the institutions that were considering them."

Activist leader says kids need to be taught, not punished:

"We are much more interested in education than punishment," Elana Kahn, the head of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Milwaukee, told The Journal-Sentinel. "I really think we need to rethink how schools teach values. The point is to make sure we're raising kids who can be leaders in a diverse society."

School board president denounces:

Baraboo School Board President Kevin Vodak said at meeting Monday that as a private citizen, the photo “deeply disappointed me, shamed, appalled and angered me.”

“The photo has shaken to the core my personal belief of the process that we as a community and as a school district have made to be tolerant, inclusive, accepting and admitting of all of those who are different from ourselves,” he said.

Twitter users question why they couldn’t use “First Amendment” excuse in school: