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A bunch of high school boys took a junior prom photo while making a Nazi salute because, well, it's 2018.

The image is chilling. A group of about 50 teen boys smiling and laughing while the vast majority of them make what appears to be the "Sieg Heil" salute. An innocent misunderstanding? A silly, tasteless joke? An immature attempt at trolling? A bunch of white supremacists emboldened by our current political climate?

This is 2018, where anything is possible. But whatever it was, the photo of Baraboo, Wisconsin high schoolers shared by journalist Jules Suzdaltsev on Twitter was gross. There's nothing innocent or funny about the Holocaust, which every human being on Earth should know by the time they're juniors in high school.


Shout out to the young men who didn't participate and were not amused.

We all remember the pressure to fit in that comes along with the teens years. Chances are good that most of us did some things we wouldn't have done if it we weren't just going along with the crowd.

But there are limits to what we allow peer pressure to do. If people are raising their arm in a Nazi salute for any reason, that's when alarm bells should go off in any decent person's head. And they did for at least a few of the boys in that photo.

One boy, Jordan Blue, made this statement after the photo was shared:

"My name is Jordan Blue, I am the boy captured in the photo to the far right. The photo was taken during our Junior Prom Photos. I clearly am uncomfortable, with what was happening. I couldn't leave the photo as it was taken within 5 seconds. The photographer took the photos telling us to make the sign, I knew what my morals were and it was not to salute something I firmly didn't believe in. I attend BHS, these classmates have bullied me since entering middle school, I have struggled with it my entire life and nothing has changed. These are the boy [sic] of Class of 2019, nothing has been done and my question is... With [sic] anything ever be done. I truly & firmly believe we need to make a change to this horrible act, it needs to stop. Bullying, immaturity, and just taking things as a 'joke'..."

People are comparing Blue to the famed man in a photo from actual Nazi Germany, standing alone with his arms crossed in a disturbing sea of Sieg Heils.

Unfortunately, Blue is also reportedly receiving threats from his community. Stand strong, Jordan.

So many questions, like why the hell did the photographer tell the students to make this sign?

Photographer Peter Gust has said that the gestures in the photo were "innocent" and that the boys were waving to their parents.

"The last picture that I shot," he told Madison365, "I said, ‘All right boys, you’re on the steps. … give me a high sign, a wave that you’re saying goodbye to your parents. And I called it high five, ‘give me a high five.’ … And so I stuck my hand up, and I said, ‘this is what I want.'”

“I didn’t tell them to salute anything,” he said. “There was none of that that was taken at that point in time that it was a salute of any kind. It was waving goodbye to their parents (and) having a good time. High five. There was nothing that diminished the quality of anyone’s life. There was nothing that diminished anyone’s stature in society, there was nothing that was intended to point a finger at anyone in their class who may have some kind of difference. There was none of that.”

Except that's not how Jordan Blue remembers it. He told Madison365 that the photographer didn't tell them to wave to their parents, merely to raise one arm, "which doesn’t give a bunch of teenagers a lot of guidance on how to raise their hands." He said he felt that many of the boys made the Nazi salute on purpose.

“I felt upset, unsafe, disappointed and scared," said Blue. "I felt unsafe because I go to school with them, I don’t believe in what they represented and the symbol they shared … they knew it was wrong, but they still did it.”

There is no reasonable excuse for this photo.

Do you wave goodbye or high-five people with your arm straight out and your palm facing down despite the fact that it makes you look like you're praising Hitler? Yeah, me neither.

If you're an adult and you see a bunch of teenagers making what appears to be a Nazi salute, do you snap a photo of them and share it without recognizing how horrible it looks? Yeah, me neither.

If Jordan Blue recognized the symbol and chose not to participate within five seconds, you would think the adults taking the photo would have at least seen how the optics looked even if it were just an innocent wave.

But considering the messages Jules Suzdaltsev has received from kids who had been bullied by racists at Baraboo high school, the chances of this photo being completely innocent are pretty slim.

So high fives (with palms out, like the average non-Nazi) to the kids who stood their ground and refused to be part of this ugly scene.

And an extra high five to Suzdaltsev's grandma, who wins everything today:

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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