California school system probing pro-Nazi phenomenon as more videos appear online
Educational officials say they had been in communication with Anti-Defamation League and Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles to expand anti-bias education for students who have been recorded making Hitler salutes and singing German World War II songs
The initial video obtained by the Daily Beast -- which posted about eight seconds of it -- shows members of the boys' water polo team at Pacifica High School in an empty room that administrative officials say was later used for an athletic banquet. The video showed about 10 boys in a stiff-arm salute while singing a Nazi marching song.
The song was a marching song written by German composer and member of the Nazi party Herms Niel in the 1930s. Originally released in 1938, the song became an instant hit in Germany during the Nazi regime.
The Garden Grove Unified School District said in a statement that the footage was recorded last November but that administrators hadn't become aware of the video until March.
It said the students were unsupervised at the time.
The district said Monday that administrators had "addressed the situation with all students and families involved," but failed to specify what disciplinary actions it took.
Yesterday, we showed you video of Pacifica HS students (in Orange County) doing #NaziSalutes & #NaziChants.— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) August 21, 2019
Today, the Garden Grove Unified School Dist. received NEW video and complaints. They are re-opening their investigation and talking about it at a board meeting tonight. pic.twitter.com/cI34M9JG34
The U.S. media reported that since Monday officials said several other videos showing students engaged in hate speech have surfaced.
Those videos will be examined as part of the district's reopened investigation. It was not immediately clear what's on the new videos or whether they included students from Pacifica High.
"This new information, which continues to unfold minute by minute, demands a school-wide call to action to address the severity of these claims to ensure hate speech never happens again," Pacifica High School Principal Steve Osborne said. "Hate speech will not be tolerated. This is not who we are."
Osborne apologized during a school board meeting Tuesday for failing to address the original video with the entire school immediately after it was brought to administrators' attention.
He added that the school had been in communication with the Anti-Defamation League and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles in an effort to expand anti-bias education for students.
Rabbi Peter Levi, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Orange County chapter, had slammed the school for apparently not addressing the incident with the community.
“Generally speaking, especially when something like this involves a group, we would think a more meaningful approach would be to use this as a learning opportunity, as an opportunity community-wide to state what our values are,” Levi told the Daily Beast.
It's not the first time a high school in Orange County has dealt with its students engaged in Nazi portrayals.
Students from schools in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District faced suspension in an unrelated incident in March after photos emerged of them playing beer pong with cups set up in swastika formation.
Ilan Levinsohn contributed to this report