A high school in suburban Sacramento, Calif., says it has launched a “full investigation” after a teacher reportedly displayed the Nazi flag in the classroom during a lesson.
San Juan Unified School District wrote in a statement on Tuesday that a teacher at Rio Americano High School had put up several German flags, including the Nazi regime's swastika flag.
“The Nazi flag is a long-standing symbol of hate and does not represent the culture and values of our school or our district. The symbolism of these flags is deplorable and we denounce it — hate has no place at our schools,” the district said.
A full investigation is currently underway as officials seek to determine why the teacher "thought the flags were appropriate to use.”
Raj Rai, spokesperson for the district, told local outlet ABC 10 that the teacher involved has taught English and social science. Amid the investigation, the educator is leading an expository reading and writing course for seniors.
"There are generally focus areas/themes in this course, which could include an analysis of historical events and topics," Rai told the outlet.
The flags were meant to be used as an instructional aid but Rai said the move is not reflective of the school district today.
"Our district’s understanding of inclusion has grown and we are committed to breaking down systemic racism in our system," Rai said. "Symbols and images of hate and bias will not be allowed on our campuses and inside our classrooms."
An anonymous Instagram user who goes by the handle @change4rio posted a photo of the incident last week, writing that the swastika can be "very triggering."
“Even if it is for history multiple students have said it makes them extremely uncomfortable,” the Instagram user wrote, urging followers to contact the school district.
Parents, however, told ABC 10 that this was not the first time the teacher has put up the flags.
“I don’t think that that makes the students in his classroom feel like he cares about them and that he actually cares that they learn anything,” said Mary Kelly, a teacher herself who has a daughter attending Rio Americano.
"As an educator, your classroom should reflect a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere," Kelly added.