Friday, March 8, 2019
The Newport Harbor High School Students Sieg Heil Nazi Salute to the Swastika
The world by now has heard of the Newport Harbor High School juniors playing beer pong, forming a swastika, then laughing and smiling as they Sieg Heil saluted the red solo cup swastika at a private party in neighboring Costa Mesa. They thought it was a funny joke. They then compounded their gross stupidity by promptly posting it on social media. Aren’t we cool? Aren’t we funny? Where are their inner morals and ethics? Parents, School officials, Jewish groups and politicians appropriately went ballistic. Sean Boulton, Newport Harbor principal said: “We condemn all actions of anti-Semitism and hate, period. This is not who we are or what we stand for. This will not define us.” The schoolboard and administrators would love to discipline the students. Police have interviewed at least two dozen students. The facts are slightly different, but even more offensive. The students were not just from Newport Harbor, but also Corona Del Mar (CDM), Estancia, Costa Mesa and Junipero Serra High Schools. The Newport Harbor students had studied the Holocaust last month in a history class. They saw pictures of the Holocaust. They are educated students acting like ignoramuses. Don’t blame it on being teenagers. Don’t blame it on alcohol Don’t call it a not-so-funny joke. Jewish students at Newport Harbor report instances of anti-Semitism, including swastikas carved on desks and in the restrooms. Newport Beach is one of the most affluent cities in the affluent Orange County. These students are privileged. Their acts reinforce the historic concept of Orange County as the Orange Curtain. As privileged high school students, they indulge in a culture of drugs and alcohol like many privileged, and not so-privileged, high school students nationally. They lack an inner compass or conscience. Who are the parents that let their house be used for a beer party by underaged high school kids? They should be prosecuted. Who has not instilled a culture of judgment, values, and tolerance in these students? Is it the parents? Is it the teachers? Is it social media? It may cost them admissions to the colleges of their choice. That’s not cool. Acts have consequences. People know the identity of the students. The student from Junipero Serra High School, a Catholic High School, either dropped out, or was expelled from Serra High School a few days later. Serra administrators aren’t saying which it was, but they issued a statement strongly deploring anti-Semitism. Some, not all, Newport Harbor students wore blue Monday to show solidarity with the Jews. 500 people showed up Monday at a community meeting at Newport Harbor High School to air out their outrage and condemn anti-Semitism. The students are probably safe from punishment from their public schools. It was a private off-campus party unrelated to any school activity. The swastika goes back at least 1500 years. It was an honored symbol. The Nazis turned the swastika into an infamous symbol. The swastika is just as offensive as blackface, the N word, or a noose to African Americans. Anti-Semitism, intolerance, and hate crimes are rising globally and in the United States, especially on our campuses. Both the British Labour party, led by the anti-Semite Jeremy Corbyn, and the U.S. Democratic Party are wrestling with anti-Semitism. 89 year old Eva Schloss, Holocaust survivor and step-sister of Anne Frank, was in California on an anti-Semitism tour, educating America about the Holocaust. She met with the students yesterday. They apologized profusely and said they thought it was a funny game while drunk. Alcohol can cause you to engage in stupid acts. It can also release inhibitions and bring out the “real you.” What have they learned? Not to be anti-Semitic? Be careful what you post on social media? Or Not to drink?