It all started when VICE contributor Jules Suzdaltsev got a h/t from user @CarlySidey and posted this tweet on his personal Twitter account.
Suzdaltsev explains later in a Buzzfeed talk show “AM to DM” interview (see below) that Sidey had come across the photograph on an “unofficial” FaceBook page where Baraboo school kids, whose school’s motto is “BarabooProud,” post pictures and such, and it goes from there to viral.
Then the excuses start rolling in. No, people are just taking things out of context. The photographer said “wave goodbye,” because they are the graduating class of 2018. It’s prom. It was harmless. It was a “joke.”
Problem there was, this is the graduating class of 2019, not 2018.
Then local Wisconsin ABC 2 picked up the story. The Baraboo Superintendent Lori Mueller is contacted for a statement, saying, “she became aware of the photo Monday after it was posted on social media.”
The photo of more than 60 male students dressed in suits shows many with their right arm extended upward while posed on the steps of the Sauk County Courthouse.
Mueller did not say what occasion may have brought the students together, but said the photo appears to have been taken last spring; some of the boys are wearing boutonnieres. Mueller said it wasn’t taken on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event.
“The school district is investigating this situation and is working with parents, staff and local authorities. If the gesture is what it appears to be, the district will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address the issue,” Mueller said in a letter to parents and guardians.ABC 2; Nov 12 2018
Now Sidey and Suzdaltsev start to add context and details. Suzdaltsev said he’s received over 100 responses from other students detailing and explaining their own experiences at this high school. Tales of experiencing racism and bigotry seem to be common place in the halls.
[See the below tweet thread here. Scroll up and down to read some of the responses Suzdaltsev started receiving from other students.]
The DM that came with this was:— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) November 12, 2018
“This was posted on someone’s Snapchat story. The video is pointing to two LATINO students.” pic.twitter.com/Ub666ofESf
Tales of school administrator’s brushing off reports of harassment. One alleging a white kid was yelling “White Power!” in the hall, then being told by an administrator there was “nothing could be done because it was his first amendment right and he wasn’t harming anyone, then were told they “should look up videos of Black Lives Matter protestors [sic] being hostile towards police.”
In the photo, in the upper right corner, is Jordon Blue. In the AM2DM interview Suzdaltsev says that Blue wanted to reach out and tell what he knew.
He writes, the photo was taken during their junior prom. When he heard the photographer yell out for the boys to raise their arm, he knew what was coming and didn’t do it and couldn’t get out of the photo in time.
“The photographer took the photos telling us to make the sign, I knew what my morals were and it was not to salute something I firmly didn’t believe in. I attend BHS, these classmates have bullied me since entering middle school, I have struggled with it my entire life and nothing has changed.”
In an interview with ABC 2, Blue further elaborates, “there are some represented that aren’t meaning to do it and they weren’t really sure what was going on, and then there were some that had intent.”
He also remembers a mother in the crowd trying to intervene.
“I could hear her yelling telling us to stop, stop, stop. She was waving her arms so for her, she knew what was happening. She was making a scene, but nobody else was paying attention to her.”ABC 2
Then Sidey posts this screen shot from an account @GoBaraboo which “is now listed as “protected,” meaning only permitted users are allowed to see its posts,” Law & Crime reported.
It’s not the first time Baraboo High School students have been accused of using racially controversial symbols. In 2012, a group of students drove trucks around displaying Confederate battle flags to commemorate a friend who was killed in a car crash. The students removed the flags at the request of school officials. Many associate the flag with slavery, segregation and white supremacy.
A week before last week’s midterm elections, area residents received white nationalist propaganda in their mailboxes. The single-page fliers with the headline “White Lives Matter” linked to websites promoting nationalist and anti-Semitic views.ABC 2
BuzzFeed’s AM to DM interview with Jules Suzdaltsev starts at the 14:30 mark.
“Crazy white man gets 4-10 years for shooting at a black teen who just wanted directions.”
Remember the Rochester Hills, Michigan man Jeffrey Zeigler who was found guilty last month for an incident which happened last April; whose own video surveillance camera belied his own tale the reason [he aimed and fired his shotgun at the back of a young teen running away] was because he “slipped on wet pavement” and that caused his weapon to discharge, and he was found guilty last month?
He was sentenced on Tuesday.
Retired Detroit firefighter Jeffrey Zeigler, 53, was sentenced Tuesday morning by Judge Wendy Potts of Oakland County Circuit Court on one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder in the April incident outside his home. He also was sentenced to a mandatory two years in prison for having a firearm in the commission of a felony, with the sentences to be served consecutively.
“Shooting at a teenager (who is) leaving your premises has consequences,” Potts told him. “Fortunately, no physical injury occurred.”The Oakland Press; Nov 13 2018
The young teen Brennan Walker, who was fourteen years old at the time of the incident, had missed his Rochester High School bus that morning and after walking, realized he was lost. “His solution,” Law & Crime reported in October, was, “just ask someone” for directions.
He approached the Zeigler house and the wife, Dana Zeigler, “thought the teenager was trying to break into their house and screamed for her husband, who responded with his shotgun.”
“I got to the house, and I knocked on the lady’s door,” he said. “Then she started yelling at me and she was like, ‘Why are you trying to break into my house?’ I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High, and she kept yelling at me. Then the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the gun. I saw it and started to run, and that’s when I heard the gunshot.”
Brennan’s mother Lisa Wright said she tried to keep race out of it, but, as can be heard in the interview above, she said, “watching the tape, you could hear the wife say, ‘why did these people chose my house?’ Who are ‘these’ people?” Wright wonders, “and that’s what, that’s what set me off.”
According to the Oakland Press, Zeigler’s defense attorney Rob Morad said outside the court on Tuesday, “it was ironic that Zeigler had installed video surveillance for protection and that it ended up being ‘the worst piece of evidence’ against him,” adding that, while he didn’t believe race played a factor in his clients behavior “firing his gun that morning,” he was ‘disappointed but not surprised’ at the sentencing, acknowledging that Zeigler’s 2004 conviction for firing a gun during a road rage incident was a factor in [Judge] Potts’ decision.”
On A Side Note (Opinion)
In an eleventh hour update to the Nazi High story, this developed:
Just a few highlights.
“His most pressing issue was the level of attention the non-participating student (Jordan Blue) was getting from the media. He provided undated screenshots of Jordan asking on Facebook if anyone had any photos from prom.”
[The person says he believes Blue planned it all and that “it almost seems like he was doing it for attention.”]
“I explained that Jordan was not the originator of the photo, that it had been published on the photographer’s website for a year, & he didn’t come to me, I had to track him down after the photo went viral. The student still seemed convinced that Jordan was somehow responsible.”
[Seems like some aren’t liking the heat they are getting for their bad behaviors.]
The person goes on says, “it has RUINED my friends life and honestly I don’t know if we’ll be able to get into college now because of this”.