The principal of a California high school, where a group of students were caught on video with their arms raised in a Hitler salute, has admitted that the scandal is more widespread than officials initially thought and administrators should have taken more action.
‘We did a disservice to the entire school community by limiting our actions to the small group of students involved,’ Pacifica High School Principal, Steve Osborne, said during a school board meeting Tuesday night.
During the meeting, Osborne said that officials have reopened the investigation after receiving new allegations, photos and videos.
One of the newly released photos shows a teenager draped in a Confederate flag. A second photo shows a group of students sitting in a circle and giving the Nazi salute to a standing student. A third features students goose-stepping while carrying a German flag.
The Pacifica High School incident marks the second time this year that students in the area have been filmed using Nazi symbolism. In March, a similar incident occurred in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, which is only 12 miles from Pacifica High School.
Osborne told an angry group of parents and teachers that ‘hate speech will not be tolerated’ and any student taken part in such behavior will be disciplined.
‘We are sorry that our investigation and our transparency with the Pacifica community fell drastically short. In retrospect, our judgment was wrong, and we take full responsibility for that.’
Steve Osborne (pictured), the principal of Pacifica High School where a group of students were caught on video with their arms in a Hitler salute, has admitted that the scandal is more widespread than officials initially thought and administrators should have taken more action
Osborne, said Tuesday that school officials have reopened the investigation into students seen in the video doing the Hitler salute. He said more allegations, photos (left and right) and videos prompted the new probe
One of the newly released photos shows a teenager draped in a Confederate flag. A second photo shows a group of students sitting in a circle and giving the Nazi salute to a standing student.
A third video shows two students goose-stepping while carrying a German flag. That particular video is believed to be from three years ago but involves students who currently attend the school.
Pacifica history teacher Ana Tourtellotte told KTLA that it feels like ‘we were robbed of a significant teaching opportunity’.
‘And frankly, it made us feel like fools,’ Tourtellotte added.
A third video shows two students goose-stepping while carrying a German flag
That particular video is believed to be from three years ago but involves students who currently attend the school
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the Garden Grove Unified School district said they reopened the investigation.
‘The school and district has received new information, allegations, and claims that have led us to reopen and widen the scope of the investigation.
According to the district, the new claims include photos and videos. Officials did not release any other information regarding the new claims.
In the statement, the district said officials are ‘working closely with the Garden Grove Police Department, both on the ongoing investigation of hate crimes and the reported death threats, with the safety of our students as our highest priority’.
‘We deeply apologize for the pain this has caused our community and the national community at large.’
On Monday, the disturbing video of Pacifica High School students from the boy’s water polo team emerged when The Daily Beast published it.
It showed the team giving the Hitler salute and singing a Nazi song during an awards ceremony.
In the shocking clip, uploaded to Instagram after it was filmed in November last year, around ten teenagers from the school in Garden Grove look towards a speaker at a podium performing the racist move.
The video features around 10 teenagers from Pacifica High School in Garden Grove and was said to have been posted online after it was filmed in November last year
Students can be seen in a formal setting looking towards a speaker at a podium while performing the Nazi salute and singing a tune is so obscure experts fear it suggests an ‘acquired knowledge’ of Nazis
The school board 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’
One student is reported to have posted the clip online, followed by the lyrics to the song written by German composer and member of the Nazi party Herms Niel.
The tune is so obscure experts fear it suggests an ‘acquired knowledge’ of Nazi Germany.
Professor Peter Simi told the Daily Beast: ‘It’s not something you’d expect somebody to accidentally know about.
‘Are they on websites or web forums or other social media platforms where they’re engaging with others informed on these issues?’
Dr Simi told the DailyMail.com he was unable to name the exact song from the ‘poor audio’ in the video, which is no longer online. Those involved have not been identified.
The Garden Grove Unified School district and the school said in a joint statement that administrators became aware of the video earlier this year.
‘It was not brought to the attention of the administration of Pacifica High School until March of 2019, four months following the banquet, at which time school administrators took immediate action and addressed the situation with all students and families involved,’ the statement reads.
‘Federal law (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) prohibits the district from disclosing details of student discipline,’ officials noted.
One parent raised concerns that the video was not brought to the public’s attention after it was circulated among youngsters on SnapChat.
A current student claimed it was not spoken about and told the Daily Beast they were unsure if the students were suspended for their actions.
Rabbi Peter Levi, director of the Anti Defamation League’s Orange County chapter, said the incident ‘requires investigation and conversation’.
Images circulated of the game which included red cups in the shape of a swastika. Pictures from the Newport Beach party went viral, sparking widespread outrage
The school board 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’.
A spokesman added: ‘We remain focused on educating students about cultural sensitivity 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.’
Earlier this year, students from Newport Harbor were filmed using Nazi symbolism.
In March, a group of students were caught on video throwing Nazi salutes while apparently playing a drinking game with cups arranged in the shape of a swastika.
Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials sent a letter to parents which read: ‘We were made aware of social media postings involving some students who created inappropriate anti-Semitic symbols, and possible underage drinking.
‘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.’
Anne Frank’s Holocaust surviving stepsister, Eva Schloss, 89, privately visited those who had attended the party and described an emotional meeting in which she recounted her experiences at the Auschwitz death camp.