A Sacramento suburban school district said it has launched a “full investigation” following reports that a teacher at Rio Americano High School displayed a flag from Nazi Germany in their classroom.
San Juan Unified School District wrote in a statement Tuesday that the teacher had “several flags from Germany on display in their class, including a flag from Nazi Germany.”
The district and Rio Americano principal Brian Ginter each released statements saying the matter at the Arden Arcade campus is being looked into as a potential hate incident. Neither statement identified the teacher.
“The Nazi flag is a long-standing symbol of hate and does not represent the culture and values of our school or our district,” San Juan Unified officials wrote. “A full investigation is currently underway into this incident.
“We are looking into why the teacher thought the flags were appropriate to use and ensuring both the instructor involved and others understand that this is not an acceptable way to teach any curriculum.”
The district and Ginter said the flag was removed from the classroom last week.
In an emailed response, San Juan Teachers Association president Bill Simmons wrote that the union has no comment regarding the specific incident, but that “each student, staff and member of our community deserves to feel safe, valued and included.”
“Further, we do not support speech or expressions that are hateful or derogatory,” Simmons wrote.
Last Thursday, an Instagram account with the handle change4rio posted a photo that it claimed to be of the classroom in question, showing four flags that appear to be hung on a wall or set of cabinets. Two of the flags are German imperial war flags, one of which has a swastika.
“Even if it is for history multiple students have said it makes them extremely uncomfortable,” the anonymous Instagram profile wrote, urging students to contact the district.
The next day, last Friday, the Instagram account said the flags had been taken down.
Ginter wrote in his statement that Rio Americano is “working to create a safe space for students to share their impact and we will have more details to share soon with students and families.”