School officials in an Indianapolis suburb are investigating high schoolers who appear to be performing a Nazi salute in a photograph of a recreational soccer team.
Administrators from Zionsville Community High School called the image of 14 boys, 10 of whom have their right arm raised in a manner similar to the salute used by Nazis to honor Adolf Hitler, “sickening” and “beyond offensive to students, staff, parents, extended family members and to an inestimable number of people in the wider world,” according to an email to parents obtained by the Indianapolis Star.
“Our school community’s efforts to foster cultural understanding will proceed, though they are set back mightily by this repugnant image,” Zionsville Schools Superintendent Scott Robison said in the message.
The photo was taken at the high school and posted on Instagram, Robinson said. A concerned student reported the image to a teacher, who then notified school leaders.
The students in the image appear to be wearing uniforms for a recreational soccer team called the “Rumblin Bumblers,” according to the Star, while one student is wearing a Zionsville jersey. The team is not affiliated with the high school, but is mentioned in the 2018 school yearbook.
Indianapolis’s Fox 59 News reported the photo included the caption, “Rumblin bumblers isn’t just a indoor soccer team, we are a cultural phenomenon.”
A website about the team that was taken down Friday mentioned players' nicknames, according to the Star, including “Judenschlau,” which means “clever Jew” in German, and Albert Fish, a 19th-century child predator, murderer and cannibal.
It’s not the first recent anti-Semitic incident at Indianapolis-area schools or surrounding suburbs, the Star reported. And anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in the United States in recent years.
In February, the Noblesville school district, 20 miles from Zionsville, disciplined a student who was filmed yelling racial slurs while wearing a Nazi flag. In 2016, a group of students at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis rendered Nazi salutes while holding a German flag.
In Wisconsin, a photo surfaced of around 50 high school students in Baraboo performing Nazi salutes before a school dance in November. School officials in Minnetonka, Minn., on Friday condemned two students who gave Nazi salutes while holding a poster that read, “Sweethearts would be a Hit(ler) w/ you, and I could Nazi myself going w/ anyone else. Be Mein? Yes or Nein?”
The Minnetonka schools superintendent said that though the school system teaches about the Holocaust, “it has apparently not been enough,” according to NBC News.
Hate crimes nationwide increased 17 percent in 2018, and anti-Semitic hate crimes spiked 37 percent, according to the FBI. A study conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany found nearly half of American millennials could not name a single Nazi concentration camp or ghetto, and 66 percent could not identify Auschwitz.
In a post on its Facebook page, the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council said it believes the Zionsville school district “appreciates the gravity of this situation and will use this hurtful act as an opportunity for ongoing education and engagement.”
Read more in Sports: