CYPRESS, Texas – Several controversial photos of students from Cypress Ranch High School are circulating on social media.
The pictures show a group of students, some with their hands in the air making what appears to be a Nazi salute.
In an email to KPRC Channel 2, a student who witnessed the incident but asked to remain anonymous said students were shouting "Heil Hitler" and "Heil Trump. The student also said it was at least 70 or so people and, "It was pretty terrifying."
The photos were taken on Tuesday, picture day for the senior class. One photo was supposed to be serious, the second was supposed to be funny.
"I've heard that there was chanting and there was saluting," student Ariena Schmidty said.
No one is laughing about it now.
The email from the Cypress Ranch student went on to say, “Most people may think it was just kids just joking around but in the current political climate and the fact these kids are seniors in high school, it's beyond unacceptable.”
Principal Bob Hull said it has been a sad and embarrassing few days for him.
He addressed the student body about the incident.
The principal goes on to say that swift action against the students involved is coming.
"I think they were trying to be funny, but it wasn't funny at all," student Killian Marchand said. "I don't think they were trying to offend anybody, They were just being stupid."
This announcement was made by the Cy Ranch principal after the incident:
"Students. As you know our school has been criticized over the last several days due to a group of seniors who displayed the Nazi Salute while we were taking the senior panoramic picture. This inappropriate gesture is symbol of a horrible time in the world, in which countless human atrocities occurred.
"This gesture invokes strong emotion and symbolizes hate that crosses all genders, races and cultural lines. This incident has been assessed and analyzed by me and other administrators on this campus. I am saddened that our school has been portrayed in a very negative light due to these students. I am disheartened that this group are members of our senior class. The very class who we expect to be leaders on this campus. Unfortunately, they made decisions to lead in a way that cannot and will not be tolerated. Swift action is forthcoming. Please be warned, students, that anyone who displays the Nazi salute or any inappropriate gesture anywhere on this campus or Cypress Ranch activity will receive consequences at the highest possible level. This is to also include any derogatory written symbols that may be written or displayed by you.
"This has been a sad and embarrassing three days for me. Cypress Ranch has been tarnished. And our work ahead is to re-create the amazing image that we have been known for over the last several years. When I came to Cypress Ranch five years ago, the image I remember is one of students showing compassion and kindness towards each other. I am calling for each one of you to embrace that and understand why the display of compassion and kindness to classmates, teachers, and the community is so important to our success.
"Too many of you have worked very hard to make Cypress Ranch an outstanding high school. And I owe it to you to do my very best to reestablish the outstanding high school that it is. Seniors, I put the challenge before you. As I said earlier, we count on you to be the leaders on this campus. And I’m calling for you to lead in the solution. This is your school. Cypress Ranch high school will be branded onto your diploma and it is up to you to determine what that represents. I plan to assemble an advisory group of Seniors to spearhead and create activities that will send Cypress Ranch forward with a positive and responsible image."
The principal also sent a letter home to parents that read:
“This letter is to make you aware of a situation that occurred on our campus today while our senior class was taking a large group panoramic picture. Several of our students made the poor choice of displaying inappropriate gestures during this time. Unfortunately, many of these images have been shared on social media. This is extremely disappointing as this is not an accurate representation of our student body.
"We are currently conducting an investigation and those implicated will be punished according to the Student Code of Conduct.
"We ask that you talk to your students regarding the posting and sharing of negative social media as this perpetuates a false image of Cy Ranch HS.
"We appreciate your partnership and support.”