A Georgia Elementary & Middle School substitute teacher was fired Thursday after demonstrating the Nazi salute for a group of third grade students, according to a district official.
Franklin West Supervisory Union Superintendent Ned Kirsch wrote to parents Thursday night that the incident involved a "long-term substitute" interacting with students who were walking to the cafeteria.
"The children were standing with their arm out in front of them and the teacher was modeling the position," Kirsch wrote. "She then raised her arm slightly and said, 'And now we say, Heil Hitler.'"
"I'm at a loss on the whole thing," Kirsch told Seven Days on Friday. "People are shocked. People I've spoken to are at a loss for words." He declined to identify the teacher.
The teacher admitted she uttered the words and made the gesture, Kirsch wrote. She was "immediately relieved," Kirsch wrote, and will not return to the school of about 650 students.
She was subbing for a teacher on maternity leave who was scheduled to return on Monday, Kirsch said in an interview. The teacher had taught as a substitute at the school regularly for years and had not been the subject of any complaints, Kirsch said.
"It's not a pattern; [I] never had a report about her, nothing," Kirsch said. "No one can quite understand what happened."
The school's principal and a guidance counselor were scheduled to visit the class Friday morning, Kirsch wrote to parents.
"We are dedicated to ensuring a safe learning environment for our students and families," Kirsch wrote. "This incident was completely unacceptable and I apologize."