All the correctional cadets of West Virginia who seem to be giving a Nazi salute will be dismissed, declared West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.
The photo, discovered at the beginning of December, shows the West Virginia Division of Basic Training Class 18 Corrections and Rehabilitation with one arm raised with the text above it stating "HAIL BYRD!". According to the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, it was in reference to a training instructor for the class.
In a statement on Monday, the West Virginia governor condemned the behavior of the training group.
Justice further stated, "We have a lot of good people in the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. But this incident was completely unacceptable. Now, we must continue to move forward and work diligently to make sure nothing like this happens ever again."
He also said that three staff members at the training academy are going to be fired, and the four other instructors who did not report the photo will be suspended without pay.
Earlier in December, the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety published the picture, blurring the faces of the trainees and staff. In an inquiry into why the group picture was taken, several employees were suspended.
The cabinet secretary for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, Jeff Sandy, was the one who recommended to Justice the firing of the cadets.
He noted in his letter to the governor that although some of the cadets "were aware of the connotations associated with the gesture, that they were uncomfortable with the practice ... and/or that they only followed what they perceived to be an order" they posed in that way out of fear that they wouldn't be able to graduate.