The Baraboo School District has outlined more than a dozen steps it will take to address backlash to an apparent Nazi salute photo, including annual trips to the Holocaust Museum in Illinois.
In a Tuesday letter to parents from the Baraboo School Board and District Administrator Lori Mueler, the district named 13 “educational steps” it will take to respond to a viral photo of dozens of high school boys giving what appeared to be a Nazi salute.
The photo of dozens of boys in the class of 2019 taken last spring before prom recently surfaced online, sparking an investigation, condemnation of the students and community meetings to address the picture.
The district said free-speech rights prevented it from disciplining those involved. The photographer, a parent of one of those pictured, said the students were simply waving goodbye to their parents before prom.
Steps outlined Tuesday include yearly field trips to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, adding Holocaust speakers to middle school curriculum, a day of peace assemblies on Dec. 18 and developing teachers’ social justice instruction skills.
Developing a short- and long-term “community action plan,” hiring a consultant to conduct a district equity audit, and mental health services for students and staff affected by media attention the photo generated are among other changes.
The district also added a page to its website where it will post information about hate, racism and invitations to events.
Additionally, the district’s school board approved an anti-hate resolution last month.
Tuesday’s letter said all people — no matter their race, sexual orientation or abilities, among other categories — should be respected.
“As previously stated, hate has no home in Baraboo. We understand the moral responsibility we have to be relentless in our work to create a hate-free environment,” the letter said. “We will come together and, in a meaningful way, consider the travesties of the past that were fueled by hatred and embrace a future of the celebration of diversity fueled by love and acceptance.”
To view the letter and Baraboo Acts website: Go to go.madison.com/baraboo-acts.