Zionsville Community High School officials are investigating after a picture posted on social media appeared to show students using a Nazi salute.
The photo, which was taken at the high school and posted to Instagram, was confirmed in an email sent to parents, staff and faculty Thursday night.
In the email, Zionsville Superintendent Scott Robison said a concerned student sent the photo to a teacher, who sent it to Robison.
Robison said the photograph is “sickening” to him and “beyond offensive to students, staff, parents, extended family members and to an inestimable number of people in the wider world.”
“Our school community’s efforts to foster cultural understanding will proceed, though they are set back mightily by this repugnant image,” Robison said in the email.
The photo shows 14 students, 10 of whom appear to be performing a Nazi salute. The photo also appears to show most of the students wearing the upper half of a soccer uniform for an indoor team called the Rumblin’ Bumblers. One student is in a Zionsville school jersey.
Fox59 reports the caption with the Instagram photo said: “Rumblin bumblers isn’t just a indoor soccer team, we are a cultural phenomenon.”
IndyStar has confirmed that the Rumblin’ Bumblers is a soccer team that played at Off The Wall Sports, an indoor soccer facility in Carmel. The team is also mentioned in the 2018 edition of the Zionsville Community High School yearbook, though it does not appear the team is directly affiliated with the school.
A Weebly website that appeared to be a page for the Rumblin’ Bumblers soccer team was taken down on Friday morning. Before it was removed, the site referenced multiple nicknames for its players. One nickname was “Judenschlau,” which means “clever Jew” in German. A second referenced an infamous hazing incident in Carmel. Another nickname was Albert Fish, an infamous child rapist, serial killer and cannibal.
The website also used racist language and alluded to raping an opposing team. It is unclear if the website was made by the Rumblin’ Bumblers or when it was last modified.
In a photo posted to social network Google+ in 2014, a different set of students in Rumblin’ Bumblers uniforms appear in the same location within Zionsville Community High School. One appears to give a Nazi salute.
When reached for comment, Zionsville Community High School referred IndyStar to the district.
In an email at 9:43 a.m. Friday, Robison told IndyStar there is no new information to provide since his initial email to parents.
Lindsey Mintz, the executive director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, said though anti-Semitic incidents are starting to happen more frequently, she appreciates Zionsville Community Schools’ response to the photo so far. The organization added on Facebook that it will be working with the district.
The photo also sparked reaction from Hoosiers on social media, including state Sen. J.D. Ford, D-Indianapolis. Ford posted on Facebook that he supports Zionsville Community Schools investigating the photo, and that “hateful behavior is not tolerated in Indiana.” He added that he will continue to push for an “inclusive hate crimes bill.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations also condemned the photo, writing on Facebook: “Incidents like this reflect a deep-seated ignorance and must be challenged through a curriculum that emphasizes diversity and exposes the painful historical significance of bigoted behavior.”
This is far from the first racist or anti-Semitic incident to occur at a school in Indianapolis or its suburbs.
In 2016, students at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis were photographed holding a German flag and using the Nazi salute.
In July, Carmel police arrested a 20-year-old Cloverdale man for spray-painting a pair of Nazi flags and iron crosses on a synagogue’s property, Congregation Shaarey Tefilla.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2018, Noblesville Schools said it was “addressing the issue” after a high school student was identified in a video on social media yelling profanities and racial slurs while wearing a Nazi flag.
In September Hamilton Southeastern Schools responded to a viral social media post that depicted a white student wearing blackface to make fun of a black student.