A varsity girls basketball program in Southern Maine finds itself under fire for one of the ugliest actions imaginable: giving a Nazi salute.
As reported by the Associated Press and a variety of Maine outlets, including Bangor CBS affiliate WLBZ, a photo surfaced online depicting three members of the Greely (Me.) High girls basketball team celebrating a Nazi salute. Two of the girls were actually giving the salute while a third sat beneath her friends accepting the salute with a peace sign. While the preceding events that inspired the pose have not officially been revealed, the girls were all wearing their basketball uniforms in the photo, and they reportedly referred to one of their teammates as "Hitler."
The salute and ugly tweets that surfaced were apparently a disturbing reference to the three girls' dislike of a particular Jewish teammate, with the trio also tweeting multiple references to Hitler and other anti-Semitic trains of thought.
Two tweets pointed out by WLBZ left little doubt about the girls' feeling about their Jewish teammate.
One tweet, dated December 24th, says "So Jewish to have prac on Christmas Eve day."
Another says "If ---- picked me up, she would've made me do sprints, then put me in a gas chamber."
All three girls are reportedly minors, so their identities remain protected. Their actions were brought to the attention of school officials by another concerned parent, with the note also pointing out that at least one student athlete had re-tweeted comments from the virulently anti-Semitic Twitter account @dictatorhitler.
The school said that it had not planned long-term punishment for the three girls, instead claiming that they made an out-of-character mistake and had learned from the incident. Whether or not that is deemed appropriate by the other parents -- let alone the larger Jewish community in Southern Maine -- remains to be seen.
"...These events, while disturbing, also provide us with an opportunity to teach our children about tolerance and respect... ," Greely Principal Dan McKeone and Athletic Director David Shapiro wrote in a letter to parents of team members. "We will be working with the team in order to help them gain a better understanding of the ramifications of incidents such as this. We will also been looking for additional opportunities to educate the greater school community..."
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