The water polo team for Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, California was captured on video seeming to sing a Nazi song along with salute previously given to Adolf Hitler.
The Daily Beast shared the video of ten members of the boys' water polo team throwing a Sieg Heil at an awards ceremony during the last school year while singing a marching song played for German troops during World War II.
One of the water polo players reportedly uploaded the video to his Instagram account, also posting the lyrics to the Nazi marching song.
A spokesperson for the Garden Grove Unified School district, where Pacifica High School resides, said the school administrators became aware of the incident and the video months after the event. They did not report whether any of the students had been disciplined.
"While the district cannot comment on student discipline, the school did address this situation with all involved students and families. The district adheres to strong policies about harassment and cultural sensitivity, and we condemn all acts of anti-Semitism and hate in all forms."The statement finished with the spokesperson saying that they are "focused" on educating students about cultural sensitivity and teaching them about the consequences of their choices. But one parent at the school, who asked to remain anonymous, expressed concern that the administrators never addressed the wider community about the video, which had circulated among the student body. A current student confirmed that the incident was never spoken about by the school and had no knowledge about whether or not anyone was suspended.
Rabbi Peter Levi, director of the Anti Defamation League's Orange County chapter, expressed disappointment that the school didn't address the incident and use it as a teaching tool for the entire school, per The Daily Beast.
"Generally speaking, especially when something like this involves a group, we would think a more meaningful approach would be to use this as a learning opportunity, as an opportunity community-wide to state what our values are."The rabbi believes there should have been more investigation into the event. The Nazi marching song the water polo team was singing was written by German composer Herms Niel during the rise of Hitler, and it was played to whip up crowds and inspire the troops. Niel continued to support the Nazi party and conducted bands at the Nuremberg rallies.
Peter Simi, a professor on extremism studies at Chapman University agrees with the rabbi, saying that the song is obscure, and one would have to wonder how the water polo team learned it, and if they have more experience or information about Nazism, like many of those involved with the recent mass shootings.
"Are they on websites or web forums or other social media platforms where they're engaging with others informed on these issues?"