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Wake up: Nazi salute at assembly not joke

By Jamie Black, Business Manager

After the cultural showcase assembly on Jan. 25, I was left utterly disappointed. It wasn’t the performances that left me this way; instead, it was our school’s students that disappointed me.

This week, Jan. 23-26, of all weeks, it would be expected that all students would behave well to show the students and teachers of the International Summit the best of our school, but instead there were students calling out Hitler and doing the Nazi salute.

Just a bit of background information, before the salutes went up, the Polish students were presenting famous historical figures of Polish descent, and the audience had to guess who they were. When one of the students stepped up, his fake mustache looked similar to Hitler’s, but the picture behind him clearly wasn’t Hitler, it was Lech Wałęsa.

Wałęsa was a man who brought only good to Poland. Wałęsa helped Poland end a communist government, and the student from Poland expressed that. Yet the some of our students still had the audacity to shout that he was Hitler and throw up the Nazi salute, not only disrespecting the Polish students who were presenting their culture, but also Jewish students at our school.

Junior Kenya Fletcher witnessed the events that occurred at the assembly, calling them “disrespectful and embarrassing.” Fletcher added that “nothing was done by administrators or staff that was in the surrounding areas.”

One student, who has asked to remain anonymous, also saw the disrespectful actions.

“The two girls sitting in front of me stuck their arm out in the (Nazi) salute and kept ‘guessing’ (shouting) Hitler,” the student said.

Another witness saw one of the students who did the Nazi salute at the cultural showcase repeat his action at the Step Afrika assembly, yet again disrespectful to the Jewish students, but also to the performers and black students.

Go ahead and call what happened just a joke and a little bit of fun, but the Holocaust is not something to turn into a joke.

Our younger generation has this ability to turn things into jokes so easily. Yes, I’ll admit it is good to get a laugh every once and awhile, but not at the expense of others, not when 11 million people died. 11 million.

We can NOT normalize behavior like this, we can NOT let Nazism become a joke. What we can do is stop these behaviors, we can watch what we say and think a little about how our words and actions.
This isn’t a call to attack a specific person who saluted during the assemblies, this a call to better our school.

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