Newport Beach students denounce photo of fellow students at party with swastika image

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Students and parents at a Newport Beach high school are infuriated after a photo of partygoers believed to be students at the school showed them posing alongside anti-Semitic imagery.

The picture shows a group of teens in a Nazi salute and a swastika formed out of plastic cups. At least some of the partygoers are believed to be students at Newport Harbor High School.

The incident triggered a conversation on the campus about the past, present and anti-Semitism.

An open letter was written by Jewish students addressed to the school's administration and community saying the photo is not an isolated event.

MORE: Photo of OC students at party with swastika image sparking outrage

"It's in our own school. You pee next to swastikas etched on the walls, you write your essays on desks that have swastikas etched into them," student Max Drakeford said.

Newport Beach resident Chad Towersey said he personally knows some of the students in the photo, and said their parents are not taking the action lightly.

"Not all the kids were from Newport Beach, and I know those parents. I've had stern conversations with their children and they're going to be punished accordingly," Towersey said. "But that's up to the parents to do that and not up to society to put a bunch of kids on blast."

Towersey said he knows the teens in the picture are not racist.

"It was insensitive that they put up a swastika, but I know the kids in that video and they are not racist," Towersey said.

In their letter, students ask administrators and community members to ensure no student forgets the hate the swastika represents and that all students understand the harm of even the smallest symbols and actions of hatred.

Newport Harbor High School is hosting a forum with the principals of several high schools and members of the Jewish community at 6 p.m.
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