The Wisconsin-based photographer who allegedly took photos showing high school students doing the “Sieg Heil” salute reportedly said the images were “taken out of context” and showed the students waving.
The online album of Baraboo High School’s prom photos reportedly first surfaced on local motorcycle photographer Peter Gust’s website, Wheel Memories. The photos reportedly showed the Class of 2019 making the offensive gesture last spring while standing on the steps of Sauk County Courthouse.
The photos have made the rounds in recent days, with school officials announcing Monday that they’re looking into the incident.
“We are extremely troubled by the image. The school district and local authorities continue to investigate, speaking with the students and families involved to determine how and why this photo was taken,” the school district said in a letter sent to parents.
Since then, Gust told Madison 365 in a phone conversation that he simply instructed the boys to “wave goodbye” before snapping the prom photo. His son is reportedly one of the students seen in the photo.
Gust, a retired social studies teacher, maintained that the photo is “as innocent as the boys and girls going to the prom.” He has since taken the prom photo off his website, according to reports.
However, a student who’s reportedly spotted standing uncomfortably in the now-viral image claimed Gust instructed the students to raise one hand before taking the photo.
“I felt upset, unsafe, disappointed and scared,” Jordan Blue, who is seen not doing the salute, told Madison 365 in a Facebook message. “I felt unsafe because I go to school with them, I don’t believe in what they represented and the symbol they shared…they knew it was wrong, but they still did it.”
The Baraboo School District sent the following letter to parents this afternoon in response to a photo circulating on social media. pic.twitter.com/0IXNUdLeRD
— Baraboo Schools (@barabooSD) November 12, 2018
[Featured Image: Twitter]