School apologises for pupils’ Nazi salute

2014-01-25 00:00

KINGSWAY High School headmaster Geoff Harrison has apologised on the school’s Facebook fan page after a group of pupils performed a Nazi salute outside the Durban Holocaust Centre and posted it online on Wednesday.

The school usually visits the centre for pupils to “learn from the mistakes of the past”, the principal said.

In a statement published on the school’s fan page, Love Kingsway High, Harrison said, “Kingsway apologises unreservedly for the most insensitive photo posted on Facebook.

“The atrocities committed against the Jews, in particular, and the loss of life and destruction caused throughout Europe can only give rise to repulsion with any­thing associated with the Nazi.”

“I believe it is also important that 13- or 14-year-olds do not know the significance of a salute, and their generation are only now being exposed to the history of the Second World War and Fascism. The learners’ behaviour was therefore more typical of youthful insensitivity than a support for Nazism”. Harrison urged all those who have not visited the Durban Holocaust Centre to do so.

“It goes without saying that the unfortunate gesture does not fit in with the ethos and philosophy of the school, as you have seen portrayed by other Facebook posts over the years”.

Facebook user Ashleigh Darné commented on Harrison’s statement, saying, “I will always respect and love Kingsway High and agree completely with what you have said. While the photo was extremely insensitive, I don’t feel it was done out of any malicious intent. We were all once teenagers who did things, in hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have done.”

East Coast Radio quoted the centre’s director, Mary Kluk, saying the the south Durban school visits them annually as part of their history curriculum. She said while the photograph is inappropriate, she believes it is more a reflection of youthful insensitivity than a malicious attempt to be offensive.

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