update desk

Second video emerges of California high-schoolers performing Hitler greeting

“We’ve recently received new allegations, new photos and video, and new claims that have led us to reopen and widen the scope of the investigation,” said Pacifica High School principal Steve Osborne.

The exterior of Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif. Credit: Arnold C. Buchanan-Hermit via Wikimedia Commons.
The exterior of Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif. Credit: Arnold C. Buchanan-Hermit via Wikimedia Commons.

A second video has emerged of the same high-schoolers on the Pacifica High School boys’ water polo team in Garden Grove, Calif., who last year sang a Nazi song and did a Nazi salute—this time, giving the same salute and singing another German song.

The Daily Beast first reported the initial video on Monday, while the local ABC affiliate KABC did the same on Wednesday with the second video, also from last year, which shows members of the team singing a song performed for Nazi troops and using a salute that symbolized one to greet Adolf Hitler.

A third video, taken three years ago, also first reported by KABC, shows students marching and carrying the current German flag while performing a Nazi salute. It’s unclear if any of the students in the first two videos were in the third.

The Garden Grove Unified School District received the new videos on Tuesday, as teachers and parents at a board meeting, which had extra police available, expressed frustration about not being notified earlier about the first video.

“We’ve recently received new allegations, new photos and video, even within the past hour, and new claims that have led us to reopen and widen the scope of the investigation,” said Pacifica principal Steve Osborne.

“We are sorry that our investigation and our transparency with the Pacifica community fell drastically short,” he added. “In retrospect, our judgment was wrong, and we take full responsibility for that.”

“You had an obligation to let us know about this event. You failed miserably,” said Randy Steiner, a Pacifica parent, KABC reported.

Rabbi Peter Levi, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Orange County chapter, criticized the school for allegedly not addressing with the community what transpired.

“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,” he said. “This requires investigation and conversation. … We’d like to see a more systematic response.”

The school district initially told The Daily Beast that administrators were notified of the first incident four months after it happened.

In a subsequent statement to the outlet, the school, which did not say if any of the students in the second two videos have been disciplined, noted that administrators “addressed the situation with the students shown in the video and their families but did not involve the larger school or district community in addressing the issue.”

In response to the first video, Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), whose constituency includes the high school, told JNS that “this disturbing incident saddens me greatly. We as a community must face uncomfortable facts, and ask hard questions about hatred and ignorance in our midst. I can only hope that this can become a teaching moment—not just for the students who participated, but for the entire student body on the horrors of the Holocaust and the evils of the Third Reich. And to fully understand why flashing Nazi salutes and singing Nazi songs is contemptible.”

“These are not issues to joke about, use for shock value, or be taken lightly. I sincerely hope that this lesson is instilled in these students by both the school district and by their parents,” he continued. “I also hope that we as a community can learn from this incident, and the others like it recently, that we must all remain ever vigilant in the face of a resurgent and emboldened white supremacy movement that is always looking for new recruits. These hateful ideologies are a threat to the fabric of our country and our society.”

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