After photos surfaced recently on various social media platforms depicting area teens with hate symbols drawn on their bodies, Wheatland Union High School District confirmed Thursday that the students in the photo attend Wheatland Union High School.
In a letter to the community sent on Thursday, Superintendent Nicole Newman said she “can confirm that the students in the picture are Wheatland Union High School students. As a result of that confirmation, my team and I are in close communication with district legal counsel, as we take disciplinary action.”
In the photo that has been widely circulated throughout the week, nearly all of the students can be seen with SS bolts or swastikas displayed on their skin, common symbols used by white supremacists. One student also can be seen displaying an “OK” symbol – a hand gesture that has recently been associated with white supremacist hate groups.
On Wednesday, the Appeal was sent another image that possibly included some of the same Wheatland students with similar hate symbols drawn on their bodies and the use of the OK symbol.
One student in the picture sent to the Appeal is seen with what looks like “1488” drawn on his body. According to the Anti-Defamation League, “1488 is a combination of two popular white supremacist numeric symbols. The first symbol is 14, which is shorthand for the ‘14 Words’ slogan: ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’ The second is 88, which stands for ‘Heil Hitler’ (H being the 8th letter of the alphabet). Together, the numbers form a general endorsement of white supremacy and its beliefs.”
In her letter sent on Thursday, Newman did not go into detail on what disciplinary action may be taken.
“The severity of the disciplinary action will be guided by the facts yielded by the investigatory process, and the legal parameters we are bound by as a district,” Newman said. “There is no denying that, the choices made by the students in the picture were hurtful and deeply troubling. Their actions do not represent who we are as a school district and community.”
Newman also said she will be “contacting our key community stakeholders, as well as key elected officials, to begin the process of having a broader community conversation about how we can work together to prevent this type of issue from ever happening again.”
A Yuba-Sutter resident and former student at Wheatland Union High School, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear for their own personal safety, previously told the Appeal, “I have friends that are scared for their siblings, people who have told me that they are scared to attend school now.”
The former student said they want to be an ally and a speaker for the unspoken.
“It’s time to make a change,” the former student said. “It makes me sad it’s happening here in my area. I want people to know about this and do everything they can do to combat hate and do better to improve our community.”