NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (FOX 11) - Just two days after a picture surfaced of high school kids doing a Nazi salute, hundreds of parents and students came together Monday night at Newport Harbor High School to talk about it.
"It's your responsibility to stand up for what's right," said a student who took the stage to represent a voice in the Jewish community. She pointed out that even though a few people may have been responsible for the picture, nobody stepped up to stop it.
"Unfortunately, some students think it's funny," she added.
The Newport Mesa School District brought in a Rabbi, students of the Jewish Faith, and Holocaust survivors in hopes of educating others about culture.
"Stuff like this happens all the time," another student speaker pointed out. "I pee next to Swastikas on urinals, and write next to them etched out on desks."
Even though the pictures were taken off campus over the weekend, the District still felt it was important to address the topic on campus Monday night.
"Often times when things happen outside our schools it trickles into our doors and effects our learning environment," said Annette Franco, a spokesperson for the District
Online, many parents were quick to respond that it was just one incident of kids making dumb decisions, but another parent disagreed.
"It's not an isolated incident, it's pervasive," the parent said. He didn't want to be identified. He said one of his kids was a student at Ensign Middle School two years ago and that one of the kids in the class dressed up as Hitler for a speech on role models.
"He wore a Nazi helmet and Nazi boots. The Teacher approved the speech and the outfit," the parent alleged.
The District couldn't confirm one way or another Monday night if they recalled the incident.
"We're focused on the kids this weekend, but where are they learning it from? They are learning from the parents, from educators that are allowing this to happen," he added.
The District is looking into possible punishments for the students but isn't convinced they can take action since it happened off campus. Either way, most in attendance Monday night feel they are heading in the right direction.
"I'm hopeful it is a first step," said the parent.