School officials, a Democratic congresswoman and the Council on American-Islamic Relations Sunday condemned an internet photo believed to be of Newport Harbor High School students with outstretched arms in a Nazi salute gathered around red plastic cups arranged to form a swastika.
The photo, said to be shot at an off-campus party, was posted over the weekend, school officials said.
"We were recently made aware of social media postings involving some students who created inappropriate anti-semitic symbols and possible underage drinking," the Newport-Mesa Unified School District said in a statement. "While these actions did not occur on any school campus or school function, we condemn all acts of anti-semitism and hate in all their forms."
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The photo was being investigated by law enforcement, with the district's cooperation.
"We remain focused on educating students on all aspects of life's challenges and are committed to holding students accountable, educating them on the consequences of their choices and the impact these actions have on our schools and community at large," the statement said.
The following statement was posted on the Newport Harbor High School Instagram account, which is run by students of the high school:
"As an organization dedicated to representing the students of Newport Harbor High School, we and the school administration denounce and condemn all acts of anti-Semitism and hate in any form. The school administration has made a statement to the community. Along with it, we would like to say that any negativity due to any type of persecution is utterly wrong, unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. To all those negatively affected, you have our deepest apologies. With all of the bad out there, we will and encourage everyone to turn to goodness, kindness, and respect over hatred. We must be lights of positivity in the darkness by standing with, and more importantly, up for any victims of injustice and discrimination. We will stand together with all of you as a force and voice of goodness, so that our school may continue to be the place of happiness, respect, and positivity we intend it to be."
Congresswoman Katie Porter, who represents the 45th District, also issued a Twitter statement: "I condemn this display of a hateful, anti-semitic symbol and call on parents and community leaders to redouble our efforts to educate young people about the history of violence against Jewish people worldwide. This has no place in Orange County."
The greater LA chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations also condemned the photo in a statement.
"We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and all other targeted minorities and against the actions of bigots who violate our nation's long-standing principles of religious tolerance and inclusion," CAIR-LA executive director Hussam Ayloush said.
Ayloush added, "Anti-Semitism, xenophobia and bigotry in any forms are unacceptable. We will continue to stand up and defend our fellow community members in the face of hatred."
On Monday, Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon and Mayor Pro Tem Will O'Neill released a statement on Twitter, condemning the photo.
"That behaviour is not acceptable and not reflective of our community’s collective character," the statement said.
Dixon and O’Neill were set to attend an open town hall meeting on Thursday evening at Corona del Mar High School.