The principal and a teacher from Creekside Elementary School in Kaysville, Utah have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation after a child wore an Adolf Hitler costume during the school’s Halloween parade.
The student also reportedly performed the Nazi salute several times throughout the event.
One parent who was present for the parade told local Fox affiliate KSTU that the student was directing these gestures toward minority students.
One mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told the news station:
“There was a lot of whispers. There [were whispers] like, ‘What is going on? I can’t believe that they allowed him to do that.'”
This behavior apparently continued on the playground after the parade was finished.
The mother said her son told her:
“[The student] was on the playground at recess being antagonistic towards minority children, by throwing the ‘Heil Hitler’ sign up. And he was doing it to specific children.”
When she called the school to express her concern—her child was one of those targeted by the boy—she was told that the student had been removed from the parade—after competing several laps—and told to change his clothes while administrators contacted his family.
The school’s explanation didn’t end there, though.
“It was kind of like excused. I was told that [school officials] thought he was Charlie Chaplin. And like, he has a whole swastika on his arm.”
She seemed incredulous that nobody who saw the child thought to stop him or make him change his clothes.
“He had to have been seen by his teacher, by multiple people.”
Another parent told KSTU the boy was allowed to complete two laps of the school during the parade, the first of which he did while holding a Nazi salute.
The school district’s response to the incident did not acknowledge precisely what occurred, but assured parents that they are investigating thoroughly.
“The Davis School District apologizes for what took place yesterday. It does not tolerate speech, images or conduct that portray or promote hate in any form.”
“The district is taking the matter very seriously and is investigating every aspect of the situation.”
“The principal and teacher have been placed on paid administrative leave.”
The United Jewish Federation of Utah issued a statement on Saturday saying they are appalled the student was allowed to participate in school activities in such a costume.
“Almost all Jews and Americans regard Hitler and Nazi symbols as signifiers of the worst hatred, racism, and crimes against humanity that the world has known.”
“Dressing a child as Hitler is intolerably offensive and should never be suggested, permitted, or condoned.”
People on social media were largely perplexed as to how anyone could have thought the child’s costume was in any way acceptable.
This costume would get an adult sent home if worn to work.
Probably written up as well.
How is this hard?
— Beatrice (@BeesNotyurs) November 2, 2019
What Is Wrong With People?
— Kristine J Myers (@Myers1Kristine) November 4, 2019
Who even makes this costume should be shamed!
— Suzy Sandor (@SuzySandor) November 4, 2019
Wow what were his parents thinking
— Mama bear ???? (@buckeye_weiss) November 4, 2019
What the hell kind of parents purchase or make a Hitler costume for their kids!??? ???????????????????? #utah
— London Boy Stan ✨???????? (@supermormongirl) November 3, 2019
Two members of the school staff, the principal and a teacher who have not been identified, are being held accountable for this disaster. More than just those two members of staff saw the student and his costume and—for whatever reason—did not speak up either.
There may be a bigger issue at the school than just two staff members failing to step in.
Regardless of the cause, the other students who witnessed a classmate allowed to walk around dressed as Adolf Hitler with impunity were certainly negatively impacted by the event.
School is often already a hostile place for minority students, even when someone isn’t going around flaunting Nazi salutes at them while wearing a swastika armband.