JUST days after launching an online portal for Jewish students and their families across NSW to report incidents of antisemitic bullying, The AJN understands the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) has already been inundated with disturbing reports.
The NSW JBD launched the portal on Monday in response to a Sun-Herald article detailing two incidents of antisemitic bullying in the eastern suburbs of Sydney – one at a private boys’ high school and one at a public high school.
The same article mentions a third school – another public high school in the eastern suburbs – which had a Nazi swastika and the word “Hitler” scrawled on its fence. It remained there for a few months, before it was eventually removed earlier this year.
As reported in the media last week, a vile chat group at Sydney’s elite Knox Grammar School was also exposed, which was found to contain a range of antisemitic, racist, homophobic and violent comments. Worryingly, it seems antisemitic incidents at schools have spread to regional NSW.
NSW JBD CEO Darren Bark told The AJN, “The problem of religious-based bullying is unfortunately not isolated. It is a systemic and cultural problem that requires a collective response by all of us. Let’s work together on greater education, respect, understanding and acceptance initiatives to tackle this scourge.
“The portal is for submitting school bullying incidents of an antisemitic nature that have been directed at students or their families; or incidents students have seen or overheard in a school setting.”
It comes after a parent of a student at an eastern suburbs private boy’s high school complained to the NSW JBD that Nazi salutes are commonplace at this school, with the student simply referred to as “Jew” instead of his name.
“It is common for boys to use the Nazi salute in his presence – I do not need to tell you how absolutely horrific that is, particularly for descendants of survivors of the Holocaust,” the parent said.
“These comments are continuing notwithstanding the session the school organised explaining to the year group that comments of this nature are grossly inappropriate and will not be tolerated.”
Another incident reported to the NSW JBD by a grandparent at an eastern suburbs public high school described Nazi salutes being “regularly performed” by students, while Hitler photos are sent around, including to Jewish students.
These are accompanied by shocking comments, including “dumb ass jew” and “I hope your family gets gassed.”
The NSW JBD is encouraging members of the community to continue to report all incidents of antisemitic bullying. The information will remain confidential and respondents can choose to remain anonymous.
“Everyone should feel safe at school,” Bark said.
“Let the Board of Deputies know so we can act.”
Meanwhile in Melbourne, the court case of five former Brighton Secondary College students who are taking legal action against the school and the State of Victoria over alleged antisemitic bullying continues.
To report an incident, go to www.nswjbd.org/bullying