Students disciplined for photo showing Nazi salute

7:46 AM, Feb 8, 2013   |    comments
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CUMBERLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Three members of Greely High School's girls basketball team are being disciplined, after an offensive photo and tweets they made surfaced.

School officials say they found out members of the girls' basketball team were making anti-Semetic jokes from an anonymous letter sent to them last week. It shows two members of the team, wearing their uniforms, giving another team member the Nazi salute. We are not disclosing their identities because they are minors. The letter also lists 3 pages of tweets allegedly written by the girls that use offensive and sometimes anti-Semetic language. In multiple tweets, the girls affectionately refer to a teammate as "Hitler."

One tweet, dated December 24th, says "So Jewish to have prac on Christmas Eve day."

Another says "If ---- picked me up, she would've made me do sprints, then put me in a gas chamber."

The letter also states that at least one team member was following and re-tweeted @DictatorHitler, an account that regularly posts anti-Semetic and anti-female tweets.

The girls' language and picture are very troubling to Emily Chaleff, the executive director of the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine. "When situations like this come up when students are using prejudiced and intolerant speech and actions, it shows that the school really needs to seriously institute anti-bias, anti-bullying education and curriculum," Chaleff said.

Greely High School Principal Dan McKeone said that the school has spoken with the girls about their actions, and he doesn't believe they intended any hate or bias. He also says the girls have been disciplined, but he declined to say how because they are minors.

In a letter sent home to parents of members of the basketball team, McKeone and Athletic Director David Shapiro wrote, in part: "...These events, while disturbing, also provide us with an opportunity to teach our children about tolerance and respect... We will be working with the team in order to help them gain a better understanding of the ramifications of incidents such as this. We will also been looking for additional opportunities to educate the greater school community..."

McKeone also said the school has an assembly scheduled in which a member of the Attorney General's office will come to speak about prejudice, hate speech and bullying.

"These were kids that made a mistake, and they learned from it, and they're moving forward," McKeone said.

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