Baraboo student: Photographer told group to ‘extend arms out,’ no mention of Nazi gesture

Student says incident lasted 20 seconds
Baraboo student: Photographer told group to ‘extend arms out,’ no mention of Nazi gesture

A Baraboo High School student sent a statement to News 3 providing more clarity about the day when dozens of high school boys posed for a spring prom photo, appearing to execute a Nazi salute.

In a statement sent to News 3 Tuesday, Brock Turkington said he woke up Monday to found himself in a national news story. He said that prior to the prom in May, he took part in the taking of group pictures outside the Sauk County Courthouse. Parents and family members took pictures, he said, while large group photos were organized by a local photographer.

“As we were about to take that photo, the photographer instructed the boys to give a ‘high-sign,'” Turkington said in the statement. “There was confusion and a lot of laughter and joking during the course of all the photos, including this particular photo. The photographer instructed us to extend our arms out, no one knew what a ‘high-sign’ was. I asked another student next to me ‘what are we doing.’ He responded, ‘stick your arm out.'”

He said the entire incident lasted about 20 seconds, but “there was never any mention of a salute or anything regarding Nazis or anti-Semitism.”

Turkington said, “Looking at the picture now, I understand why people believe it is related to anti-Semitism. As an outsider, I would have the same impression. That was never the intent at that time. In this picture are many of my friends (not everyone in the picture), that I know are not racist and do
not hold Nazi views.”

Turkington apologized in the statement.

“This mistake has caused pain for many people. For that, I am deeply sorry,” he said.

Turkington finished the statement by saying, “I want to apologize to anyone that this incident has hurt; individuals that have been victims of racism, anti-Semitism, and/or xenophobia. I would also like to apologize to the people of Baraboo, Baraboo High School, and my family. I am deeply sorry.”

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