Skip To Content
Fast Forward

California School District Re-Opens Investigation Into Team Making Nazi Salute

(JTA) — A southern California school district is reopening its investigation into an incident in which students made a Nazi salute and sang a Nazi marching song at the start of an awards ceremony.

The Garden Grove Unified School District and officials at the Pacifica High School said in a statement that the district and the school have “received new information, allegations, and claims that have led us to reopen and widen the scope of the investigation.”

The incident, which took place last year, involved 10 members of the boys’ water polo team, the Daily Beast first reported. The video was posted to Instagram by one of the athletes.

Part of the new information includes new videos of additional instances of students making Nazi gestures and marching with a German flag and displaying a Confederate flag, the local ABC affiliate KACB reported. Two of the videos are from last year and one from three years ago.

The statement noted that when Pacifica High School administrators first learned of the initial video in March, four months after the incident occurred, its investigation led to “disparate accounts and lacked details that have since emerged.” It acknowledged that school 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.

The Pacifica High School administration “realizes it did not respond to the incident with the gravity it deserved,” according to the statement.

The school district said that its plans for action include forming a Human Relations Taskforce to address school-based hate and bias and provide recommendations to the district and working with community partners to implement anti-bias campaigns at school campuses. The Anti-Defamation League and The Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance will be among those partners.

“We deeply apologize for the pain this has caused our community and the national community at large,” the statement said, calling the incident “a crisis for our community.”

Dozens of angry parents and teachers attended a regularly scheduled school district board meeting Tuesday, calling for clarifications on the incident and the response to it.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning journalism this Passover.

In this age of misinformation, our work is needed like never before. We report on the news that matters most to American Jews, driven by truth, not ideology.

At a time when newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall. That means for the first time in our 126-year history, Forward journalism is free to everyone, everywhere. With an ongoing war, rising antisemitism, and a flood of disinformation that may affect the upcoming election, we believe that free and open access to Jewish journalism is imperative.

Readers like you make it all possible. Right now, we’re in the middle of our Passover Pledge Drive and we still need 300 people to step up and make a gift to sustain our trustworthy, independent journalism.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Only 300 more gifts needed by April 30

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.