The boys who posed for a prom photo while displaying a Nazi salute have been described as "idiots" by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
A photograph taken before the Baraboo High School junior prom earlier this year showed dozens of students doing a "Sieg Heil" hand gesture.
It went viral after coming to wider attention on social media earlier this week, prompting the school district to launch an investigation.
In his first press conference since losing his re-election bid to Democrat Tony Evers, Gov. Walker was asked to give his reaction to the students' conduct.
"They're idiots," he said, according to WISN. "It's as simple as that. Some are trying to brush it off as youthful indiscretion, but still – they're idiots."
The photographer who took the picture, who was also the parent of one of the boys involved, tried to explain the snap as a case of bad timing.
Pete Gust suggested that the boys had simply been asked to wave goodbye to their parents, and that he took the picture at an inopportune moment.
This explanation was met with a disbelieving response from most people, not least because the picture was posted to Twitter with the caption: "We even got the black kid to throw it up."