A group of high school students from Newport Beach are in hot water after a photo of partygoers posed in a Nazi salute surrounding cups in the shape of a swastika circulated the internet over the weekend. At least some of the teens are thought to be students at Newport Harbor High School.
The photo, posted to social media app Snapchat, was captioned "German rage cage" by one user, referencing the popular drinking game Rage Cage. Another user captioned the same photo, "Ultimate rage." The image went viral, sparking outrage from parents, peers, and public figures.
Costa Mesa police took a report and have interviewed more than twenty students along with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and Newport Beach police. The party was attended by students from Newport Harbor, Estancia, and Costa Mesa.
A parent of a student who attended the party invited a Holocaust scholar to his home to speak with nine students who had attended the party. The parent, who requested to remain anonymous, said some students who defended the conduct did not accept the invitation, but the students who did attend felt remorse and wrote apology letters.
Several students shared experiences of anti-Semitism at a town hall meeting on Monday night. The grandmother of student Maxwell Drakeford, an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor, attended the meeting and received a standing ovation. Drakeford's grandmother endured Nazi persecution in Hungary.
The school district is working to identify those who attended the party and had a role in the incident to further determine what, if any, course of action the district may take. Because the incident happened off campus, on a weekend, its unclear what disciplinary actions the district can legally take.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semetic incidents at schools and colleges have doubled from 2016 to 2017. In 2017, K-12 schools surpassed public areas as places with most reports of anti-Semetic incidents.
Critics have called for the students to be publicly identified. Doxxing, or broadcasting private or identifiable information about an individual or organization has become increasingly common as a way to seek justice for perceived wrongs. If these students are identified, it could affect their ability to get into college or find a job after graduation.
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