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'Nazi salute' students will escape discipline because of 'freedom of speech'

A picture of the boys saluting went viral on social media.

A group of teenage students who made Nazi and white supremacists salutes in a pre-prom photo will seemingly escape punishment because of "freedom of speech."

That's according to the Baraboo Schools District administrator Lori Mueller, who in a letter to parents earlier this week after the district investigated the offending picture, which went viral on social media earlier this month.

The picture showed many of the students in the picture displaying a "Sieg Heil" hand gesture, while another made a white supremacist "OK" sign in the front row, and it was shared on Twitter with the caption: "We even got the black kid to throw it up #BarabooProud."

But in her letter, reported by the Baraboo News Republic, Mueller wrote that "we cannot know the intentions in the hearts of those who were involved."

"Moreover, because of students’ First Amendment rights, the district is not in a position to punish the students for their actions," she added.

Mueller's comments haven't been received well by some national commentators, who point out there are plenty of precedents of students being disciplined for making offensive gestures, wearing offensive clothing, and using offensive language.

This includes, but not limited to, student football players being threatened with punishments for taking a knee during the national anthem.

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That's not to say Baraboo High School isn't taking action. The News Republic reports the school is working with students involved to use "restorative practices" to mend fences with other students and community members.

It also has short and long-term plans to address hate and racism among students.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker last week referred to the boys as "idiots."

"They're idiots. It's as simple as that. Some are trying to brush it off as youthful indiscretion, but still – they're idiots."

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