MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some students at a Twin Cities high school say they don’t feel safe going to class Friday after an anti-Semitic social media post.
The Instagram picture showed two students doing the Nazi salute. They’re also holding a sign with numerous references to Hitler and Nazis.
Jewish community leaders tell WCCO-TV they are shocked and saddened, and they want to make sure everyone learns from this.
The picture posted to Instagram should have been just a nice moment: A girl asking a guy to next month’s Sweethearts Dance at Minnetonka High School.
“Anger was probably my first emotion,” Stu Schulman, who has two daughters who go to Minnetonka High School.
But the sign she used, and the salute the students are making, has students, parents and administrators alarmed and upset.
“You wonder, in this day and age, how and why could someone still feel that this is an appropriate thing to do and to feel even?” Schulman said.
For Schulman’s family, the Holocaust is personal.
“My grandfather and his family came here from Germany due to the hatred occurring in Germany,” he said. “He actually wound up fighting for the U.S. Army In Germany.”
Schulman’s wife, Dania, lost family members in Poland. Each year, the couple uses their own stories to teach eighth graders in Minnetonka about the Holocaust.
“At least one of those students has been in one of my own presentations, and my wife’s presentations,” Schulman said. “Given that experience, I don’t understand why anyone thought this would be acceptable.”
Neither does Rabbi Tzvi Kupfer, the advisor to Minnetonka’s Jewish Student Union. Members reached out to him Thursday afternoon.
“They really feel uncomfortable going to school tomorrow. They don’t feel safe, they feel very concerned,” Rabbi Kupfer said. “I think it really rips open a little bit of the feeling of safety that they have when something like this is out there.”
For Rabbi Kupfer and Schulman, this is a teachable moment — one they wish didn’t have to happen.
“It’s our time as a community to stand up very loudly express that this is not tolerated,” Schulman said.
Minnetonka High School’s principal sent an email to parents tonight calling the picture “deeply offensive.”
The district can’t comment on any punishment because the people involved are students.