Saratoga Springs High School is stressing that they have nothing to do with an Instagram account featuring Neo-Nazi imagery and messages.

Hundreds of students followed an account that was set up and the school is warning parents.  The account has since been deleted.

Officials are working to find out who is behind the account.

Here's the letter from the school superintendent -

Dear School Community Member,

One of the most important facets of our democratic society is our ability to accept and celebrate our social and cultural differences. Our ability to lift up the ideals of freedom and cultural diversity have helped us to become an example for other nations in the world.

As the leader of our school district I take pride in the many accomplishments of our students and enjoy the opportunity to share them with you. However, I write to you today saddened and concerned by some recent events. It has been brought to my attention that a website or internet posting identified as “SHS4R” has been posted on Instagram and that Saratoga Springs students have been invited to follow the site. On the site, SHS4R is identified as standing for “Saratoga High School Fourth Reich” and the site makes several references to “neo-nazi.” I wish to make clear that the views expressed on this site are not representative of the school district’s beliefs nor are they authorized in any way or representative of any club or activity associated with the school district.

The Saratoga Springs City School District denounces any speech which promotes acts of hatred or violence against any individual or group and upholds the rights of all students and adults to learn and teach without fear of discrimination, harassment, bullying or intimidation based on an individual’s or group’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or for any other reason. The SHS4R page directly refers to a site that espouses white supremacy and anti-Semitic rhetoric. In addition, the moniker SHS4R inappropriately and without any permission directly relates the name of our high school to concepts expressed by Nazi Germany.

We have been working closely with law enforcement to investigate the site, and the investigation is ongoing. We are at this point unsure of who the author or authors of the site are or even if they are students of the school district. Any student engaging in speech or acts violating the code of conduct will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary action and may also be subject to criminal prosecution.

Hate and intolerance cut at the core of our values as a school, a city, a state, and a nation. As such, it is incumbent upon us to take an active role in exposing intolerance and teaching our children to celebrate diversity as a strength.

Our response to these events cannot be isolated; it must be comprehensive. We are a diverse community in many ways, and we must learn to broadly embrace this diversity. By doing so, we become a culturally richer and stronger community. I ask you to join the school district and me in continuing to promote diversity and a dialogue around this ideal. The school district will continue to take the lead in engaging local leaders and groups to participate in the long term work to educate each other and build systems to support diversity and inclusiveness. We ask all parents to speak with their own children about such ideals and encourage the same diversity and inclusiveness we promote at school.

Together we can strengthen our culture and build a strong foundation supported by acceptance and the celebration of our diversity. Please join me in these efforts.

Sincerely,

Michael M. Piccirillo

Superintendent of Schools

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