NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA – The Garden Grove Unified School District issued a statement on Monday, condemning the actions of a dozen student-athletes on the Pacifica High School water polo team. This comes after a video surfaced on social media showing a number of athletes giving a Nazi salute.
The video, which the district said was recorded in November of 2018, took place prior to a “off-campus student athletics banquet,” where the athletes were in a “unsupervised room at the facility.”
However, the district added that the school was not made aware of the incident until March of 2019, where the schools administration, “took immediate action and addressed the situation with all students and families involved.”
The district added that both them and the school disapproved of the “offensive Nazi-related gestures,” seen in the footage.
“Garden Grove Unified School District and Pacifica High School strongly condemn a video recorded last year of some students who engaged in offensive Nazi-related gestures,” said the statement released by the district.
Though the school said the athlete posted the video on Snapchat and was only shared with a small number of students, The Daily Beast has reported that one of the athletes also posted the lyrics to a Nazi marching song, played for the Germans during the second World War, on his Instagram bio before being deleted.
The roughly eight-second long video showed one of the athletes standing at the front of the room behind a podium, while the rest of the players dressed in coats and ties, appeared to be using a well-known Nazi salute.
However, the video also showed one of the boys standing up from his seat and walking away. No adult or teacher can be seen supervising the student-athletes in the footage.
The districts statement said that though they could not comment on student discipline due to federal law, they did address the issue with the students and their families.
“While the district cannot comment on student discipline, the school did address this situation with all involved students and families,” a spokesperson for the district said. “The district adheres to strong policies about harassment and cultural sensitivity, and we condemn all acts of anti-Semitism and hate in all forms.”
This is not the first time an incident of this magnitude has occurred in the nearby area.
In March of this year, New Port Beach school officials also issued a statement after images were posted on social media depicting a group of students partying and stretching their arms in a Nazi salute while gathered around a set of red plastic cups, which were arranged to form the shape of the swastika.
After the incident, the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum invited the students present at the party, to not only attend their museum, but also meet Holocaust survivors. The Daily Beast reports that the museum plans to take a similar approach with the Pacifica students.
“I would definitely love to reach out to the principal of Pacifica High school and see if we can do the same thing we did with the Newport Harbor students,” said Beth Kean, the museums CEO, to The Daily Beast. “Once you see those artifacts, you realize what these symbols like the German nationalist song really represent. That is really the best way to learn and make sure we can move forward and prevent these types of incidents from happening.”
The district has also said they have reached out to community organizers in hope that the issue of can be addressed and prevented in the future.
“The district and school administrators have reached out to community organizations to provide support that will continue to ensure an anti-bias learning environment and address issues of hate,” said the statement.
By, Luis Zuniga
Contributions by, The Daily Beast, The Orange County Register, The Washington Post, ABC 7 News, Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian.
Photo by, Google Images