West Virginia will give Holocaust education to its corrections department staff


(JTA) — West Virginia plans to introduce instruction about the Holocaust for its corrections department staff.

The decision comes a day after the announcement that more than 30 correctional academy trainees were fired for giving a Nazi salute in a class photo.

The regional Anti-Defamation League chapter will draft the training materials and coursework, The Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing a spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

The photo of dozens of participants in the basic training class making the Nazi salute reads “Hail Byrd!” at the top, a reference to their correctional academy instructor, Karrie Byrd.

According to a report by state investigators, the trainees regularly gave the Nazi salute “as a sign of respect” for their instructor in the weeks prior to the release of the photo.

Byrd told investigators that she was unaware of the “historical or racial implications of the gesture” and said it was “simply a greeting,” according to the report, NBC News reported. Other sources suggest that Byrd encouraged the salute.

“The investigation disclosed that she encouraged it, reveled in it, and at times reciprocated the gesture,” the report said.

Two correctional academy trainers and a cadet from the class shown in the picture were fired when the photo came to light in early December.

“This kind of behavior will not be tolerated on my watch in any agency of state government,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Monday in a statement announcing the firings.

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