An Ohio school district called for its community to "be civil, respectful and not hateful in our behaviors toward one another" after an attendee at a school board meeting on Monday reportedly made a Nazi salute.
The gesture by an unknown attendee came in response to a request by the board for the public attendees to wear masks so the meeting could continue, according to NBC News affiliate WCMH.
"What we witnessed at the 9/13 Board Meeting was unacceptable and not representative of our inclusive community that is Worthington," the school district said in a statement.
Marcia Edwards, a mother in the crowd, told WCMH that her teen witnessed the salute and asked her, "Why can’t they just follow the rules, just be an adult?"
“No one likes wearing a mask. We’re all doing it. We want to protect other people," Edwards said.
The Worthington School District said in its statement that "Nazi symbolism belittles the horror and the atrocities faced by the Jewish community during the Holocaust."
"It also minimizes the 6 million Jewish lives murdered as well as the 5 million others who were killed by the Nazis," the statement said. "Any Nazi symbolism has no place in our community, in our schools, or in our school board meetings."
Cases of Covid-19 are surging across the Ohio, and the city of Worthington on Wednesday enacted a mask mandate for indoor spaces, WCMH reported.
And on Monday, when the nearby city of Columbus did the same, its city council had to recess because of interruptions by anti-mask protesters, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The issue of masks at school board meetings has emerged as a flashpoint as children begin to return to classrooms amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, a Tennessee student who testified in favor of masks at a school board meeting by telling the story of how his grandmother died of Covid was heckled by adults in attendance.
The student, Grady Knox, told NBC affiliate WSMV that he couldn’t believe the incident and that it was “complete insanity.”