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Rampant Antisemitic Abuse Plagues Australian School District

Pictured: Principal Richard Minack was listed in the suit alongside the state and Brighton Secondary College

UPDATE September 18, 2023: A federal court in Melbourne ordered the Australian state of Victoria to pay AUD $425,000 in compensation and apologize to five Jewish students who faced bullying and discrimination at the state school.

The five students, Joel and Matt Kaplan, Liam Arnold-Levy, Guy Cohen, and Zack Snelling, sued the state, the school, two teachers, and the principal, Richard Minack; more here.

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Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) president Daniel Aghion has declared that “one incident of antisemitism in a Victorian school is too many” after disturbing reports of antisemitic incidents – including Nazi salutes, offensive memes and physical assaults – were reported in The Age over the weekend.

The shocking revelations have prompted calls for immediate action to address the rising instances of discrimination and hatred within educational institutions.

In the report several Jewish students bravely shared their experiences with The Age, shining a spotlight on the reality they face within their own schools. One Jewish student described incidents where individuals made “Heil Hitler” salutes and he was subjected to physical assault, including being held down, hit and kicked, while another student attempted to draw a swastika on his leg.

Brighton Secondary student Jackie Rozen also faced antisemitic bullying, with antisemitic memes being sent to her and having notes thrown at her that read “Jewish rat”.

Her mum Adi Rozen told The AJN Jackie was sent “horrifying, horrifying, vile photos”.

In regards to the response of the school, Rozen said, “No one said the word antisemitism but me, they refused to let that word cross their mind, it was just horrible, no support at all.”

Rozen explained that incidents would keep happening and each time the school would call it an isolated incident.

“If the school did something in front of the class and said this will not be tolerated, or kids would be expelled … then I’m sure that the other kids would think twice and if it’s a matter of ignorance, then something is wrong with your education program.”

According to The Age‘s report, the disturbing incidents are not isolated cases. Rather, they are part of a pattern that has been unfolding across several state schools in Victoria.

Since the beginning of term two, an antisemitism training program has been made available to all Victorian school staff at no cost, Aghion said.

“This program was developed by the Department of Education and the JCCV, with expert input from the Jewish Museum of Australia and the ARK Centre.”

The JCCV urged all teachers to undertake the training to “learn how to understand, identify and respond to antisemitism in a timely manner”.

A Department of Education spokesperson told The AJN, “Any antisemitic behaviour in schools is distressing and disturbing and taken extremely seriously – we work closely with the Victorian Jewish community to strengthen our zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism.”

Federal member for Macnamara Josh Burns shared his thoughts online, saying the reported incidents of antisemitic bullying are “deeply disturbing”.

“We must stand united against bigotry, hate and discrimination, working together to create an inclusive and tolerant space for all – especially schoolkids.”

Source: https://www.australianjewishnews.com/antisemitic-incidents-rock-victorian-state-schools-2/