An off-campus high school party in Newport Beach, California, went viral for all the wrong reasons this weekend when photos surfaced of anti-Semitic gesture by students at Newport Harbor High School.
Photos posted on Snapchat of the gathering saw students from Newport Harbor High and other schools performing a Nazi salute as they stood behind a set of red party cups that were shaped to form a swastika. The students were apparently playing a drinking game.
Other photos of the students with the Nazi emblem included captions like “German rage cage” and “ultimate rage.”
The bash went viral after Twitter user @itsavarose_ tweeted the images Friday, March 2.
“Scrolling through Snapchat and see this from a Newport high school party. Absolutely disgusting,” she said.
Others shared her feelings.
“This is disgustingly abhorrent behavior! If what I hear is true, this just shows the ignorance of privileged @NHHSailors Newport Harbor High & @costamesahigh
Costa Mesa High School students.”
“As part of the senior class of Newport Harbor High school, I am very disappointed into what immature and stupid actions that are caused from our community.”
By Sunday, the Newport Harbor High student body representatives issued a statement on Instagram decrying the images.
“As an organization dedicated to representing the students of Newport Harbor High School, we and the school administration denounce and condemn all acts of anti-Semitism and hate in any form,” it read in part. “We would like to say that any negativity due to any type of persecution is utterly wrong, unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. To all those negatively affected, you have our deepest apologies. … We will stand together with all of you as a force and voice of goodness, so that our school may continue to be the place of happiness, respect, and positivity we intend it to be.”
Also on Sunday, Mayor Katrina Foley posted a set of statements on Twitter backing up the student body.
“There is no place for hateful symbols of swastikas and nazi salutes in our community,” she said. “We need to seriously address why teens in our community might think these types of hateful symbols are acceptable or funny & worthy of selfies. It’s good to see our student groups denouncing.”
School officials, who acknowledged the underage drinking likely being involved, have also since released a statement on the matter.
“We were recently made aware of social media postings involving some students who created inappropriate anti-semitic symbols and possible underage drinking,” The Newport-Mesa Unified School District said in a statement. “While these actions did not occur on any school campus or school function, we condemn all acts of anti-semitism and hate in all their forms.
“We remain focused on educating students on all aspects of life’s challenges and are committed to holding students accountable, educating them on the consequences of their choices and the impact these actions have on our schools and community at large,” the statement added.
The district is cooperating with local law enforcement investigating the photos.
Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle, district spokesperson Adriana Angulo is asking parents to assist them in “helping students make good decisions, be respectful of others, and to always use good judgment.”