Baraboo High School's class of 2019 threw Nazi salutes for a staged photo at their junior prom this year.
The photographer, named as Peter Gust, apparently removed it from his website and complained of the "malevolent behavior" of those spreading and criticizing it, but that did not stop it going viral.
Though the Wisconsin school district claims to be taking action, it appears not to be merely a one-off stunt: since the photo was publicized, current and former students claim that the school has a culture of racism and bigotry openly enabled by indifferent teachers and administrators.
Jules Suzdaltsev is collecting the reports on Twitter.
"Nearly all of the stories echo the same basic theme: the community as a whole has a lot of casual & jokey racism, homophobia, and transphobia that is accepted as a part of life," writes Suzdaltsev. "The school (and other schools in the area) do little to nothing to address these issues."
One teen poses with the OK sign, as often appropriated by white supremacists under the fig leaf of "trolling", while others smile without participating. One unsmiling lad raises his fist instead, a traditionally socialist gesture also adopted by the black power movement. One, named as Jordan Blue, conspiciously stands aside and frowns at the camera and is emerging as the photo's folk hero.
After trying to remove the photo from his site (it's still available at the original URL) the photographer posted the following about "malevolent behavior on the part of some in society", and calling for civility.
Updated page: due malevolent behavior on the part of some in society; this page has been modified. It is too bad that there are those in society who can and do take the time to be jerks; knowingly and willingly to be jerks! The internet can be a wonderful tool but for some there is an overwhelming urge to destroy. The destruction may not be physical but instead it can be bullying that is intellectual or emotional. To anyone that was hurt I sincerely apologize.
To those who have harmed them, we as society often ignore them I have chosen not to do that. YOU ARE JERKS! Grow up!
Slate's Jamelle Bouie: "To repeat a point i have made many times before, there’s never been a serious consensus that racism is bad. rather, it’s been that “openly expressing racist views is impolite.” with national leadership celebrating that expression however, the norm is eroding."