California school district reopens investigation into students filmed doing Nazi salute
© The Daily Beast

A California school district said Tuesday night it is reopening an investigation into a group of students who were filmed doing a Nazi salute and singing a Nazi marching song during an awards ceremony last year, with one official saying new photos and videos have surfaced.

“The school and district has received new information, allegations, and claims that have led us to reopen and widen the scope of the investigation,” the Garden Grove Unified School District wrote in a statement. “Rest assured that any students engaging in hate speech or activities will face disciplinary action in accordance with California Education Code. We deeply apologize for the pain this has caused our community and the national community at large."

ADVERTISEMENT

The district added that it will work with groups like the Anti-Defamation League and Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance to examine existing anti-bias programs and develop new ones.

Before a school board meeting Tuesday, Pacifica High School Principal Steve Osborne reportedly apologized for a lack of transparency earlier regarding the video, which administrators were aware of months before it went public on Monday.

"We are sorry that our investigation and our transparency with the Pacifica community fell drastically short. In retrospect, our judgment was wrong and we take full responsibility for that," he said, according to CNN.

He added that school officials have gotten unspecified ”new allegations, new photos and video ... and new claims that have led us to reopen and widen the scope of the investigation.”

The eight-second video shows what appears to be a group of nearly a dozen male Pacifica High School students singing a Nazi marching song as they raise their arms in a Nazi salute. It was filmed in November before an after-hours, off-campus student athletics banquet and was shared among a small group of students on Snapchat, the district said.

School administrators said that when they found out about it months later, they took “immediate action” to address the incident, but they did not specify their response, citing federal privacy laws — a move that quickly sparked widespread backlash.

“School administrators addressed the situation with the students shown in the video and their families but did not involve the larger school or district community in addressing the issue,” the district wrote. “Pacifica High School administration realizes it did not respond to the incident with the gravity it deserved.”

Similar incidents involving students and Nazi salutes have also been reported in California and Indiana.