‘Reactive behavior;’ Tipp City school board member explains giving Nazi salute at recent meeting

TIPP CITY — A gesture associated with praising Hitler was made during a Tipp City school board meeting Tuesday.

The Tipp City Board of Education was gathered for a work session Tuesday. As the board was discussing funding for a project, board president Simon Patry was interrupted by board member Anne Zakkour.

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“Do not interrupt me, do not make any noises or else I will -- I will not tolerate it,” Patry said.

Following that remark, Zakkour said, “Oh Sieg Heil” while acting out a Nazi salute.

News Center 7′s Kayla McDermott went to the district offices Wednesday and asked about the incident. The district declined to comment, but Zakkour called McDermott back Wednesday afternoon.

“My reaction was symbolic and, I think, a sarcastic gesture of submission to a board officer acting as a dictator, Zakkour explained.

She went on to claim Patry’s tone was threatening to her in the moment.

“Patry has a pattern of being very condescending, controlling – dictator. I was trying to make the point that he was a dictator. It was a last straw breaking point,” she said. “That was reactive behavior on my part.”

Zakkour said she understands why some parents and community members, like Josh Dziedzicki, are upset.

“I can’t believe in this day and age we are even joking about making this sort of gesture,” Dziedzicki, a Tipp City with family members in the district, said about the gesture.

Still, the board member, whose term ends in December, said she believes both her and Patry’s behavior was wrong.

“There’s two sides here. It’s not just my behavior, but his behavior and my reaction,” she said.

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Later in the meeting, Patry announced that he would be resigning effective at midnight that night.

Following his announcement, Patry proposed a motion to have Amber Drum replace him as board president for the remainder of the school year. The motion was approved.

In a social media post, Patry thanked the community for their support during his nearly four years on the Board of Education.

“It has been an honor to serve,” he said in the post.

News Center 7 also learned that the gesture was not the reason for Patry’s resignation. We also reached out to Patry for comment on the incident in the meeting, but have not received a response.

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