GERMANTOWN, Tenn. -- The Germantown School District is apologizing after a picture of students wearing swastikas and mustaches similar to Adolf Hitler’s made it into the school yearbook.
The picture shows two students at Houston Middle School dressed like Nazi soldiers.
Many people asked how the photo made it into the yearbook and why there was no caption added to give those reading the yearbook context.
“I would freak out a little bit," said Jeri Key, who lives in Germantown. "You know, what? What’s this? Why?”
On Wednesday, the school district offered an explanation and an apology.
It said in part, “We understand the concern and are reviewing the incidents with students and staff who were involved.”
It also said the district doesn’t “condone the placement of photos of this nature in any school publication and apologizes to anyone who was offended by the insensitive image.”
“That just sounds to me like nobody was overseeing what they should have been," said Sharon Deeds, who lives in Germantown.
In a letter to parents, the principal wrote the picture was taken during a history lesson called “The Nazis in Power: Discrimination, Obedience, and Opportunism."
She said “through role-playing, students were asked to draw conclusions about unjust laws in Nazi Germany," which led to students reflecting on discrimination today.
“I think history shouldn’t be messed with," said Key. "You learn from your mistakes.”
“I’m sure they learn about this, but I’m not sure why they would have the mustache on the student," said Deeds.
Although the district did issue an apology and that explanation, it’s still unclear exactly how the photo ended up in the yearbook and if this may affect future procedure of how they do their publishing.
The school principal also said the class is there to help teach students the importance and appreciation of our diverse world and that Houston Middle celebrates diversity.