(June 3, 2022 / JNS) Five Jewish former students of a public secondary school in Melbourne, Australia, are suing the school, claiming years of anti-Semitic bullying, discrimination and negligence, reported the Australian Associated Press.
The incidents allegedly took place between 2013 and 2020 at Brighton Secondary College, which serves students in grades seven to 12. Named in the lawsuit are two teachers and the school’s principal, Richard Minack, as well as the State of Victoria, which oversees the school.
According to The Guardian, Adam Butt, the students’ attorney, told the federal court that Minack at least once “referred to Jews as subhuman, evil” and that the school was “littered” with swastika graffiti.
He also told the court his clients were subjected to Nazi salutes from classmates. Some of the boys also claimed they were physically assaulted by their schoolmates.
The students who filed the lawsuit said they were not allowed to wear kipahs at school and that when one of the boys did, his classmates tore it off his head and threw it in the trash.
Other students were reportedly told to remove a Star of David necklace and forbidden from doing a project on then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
One student had “Heil Hitler” scrawled on his locker, coins thrown at him, and was called a “dirty Jew” and “vermin.” He said he complained to the school’s administrative office several times, but that no action was taken in his defense.
“Four out of five of my clients had to leave Brighton partway through a school year because the hostile school environment was intolerable. We’re talking here about a normalized culture of anti-Semitism,” said Butt, adding his clients “didn’t feel like they could be openly Jewish at the school.”
Defense lawyer Chris Young said the Brighton Secondary College, State of Victoria and the other respondents deny all allegations, according to the Australian Associated Press.
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