A school touch footy match goes horribly wrong

March 10, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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A friendly game of touch football between a Sydney Jewish day school and a neighbouring private school attended by a large number of Jewish students went horribly wrong when some of the private school participants started chanting antisemitic slogans and playing a game with anti-Jewish overtones.

Reddam-logoAction has been swift following the recent match between Sydney’s Moriah College Year 8 boys and a team from Reddam House. The Reddam House boys starting chanting “Jew FC” and other derogative slogans including “****ing Jews” according to reports.

Reddam Principal Dave Pitcairn told J-Wire: “My head of sport put a stop to it immediately and the chanting lasted only 10-15 seconds.”

The game the Reddam boys played involved placing money on the ground and surrounding it with whoever was to take it having to run a gauntlet. The game itself has antisemitic undertones demonstrating to what lengths a Jew will go to get money.

Pitcairn added: “I am sure the boys were unaware how hurtful and derogatory their actions were. The kids are all mates and the relationship between them shouldn’t be soured. I believe the source of the game is from a TV show featuring a caged sport called the Ultimate Fight Club. But what is really surprising is that seven of the eleven Reddam boys involved are Jewish.”

Both school principals have issued statements and the matter was referred to The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies whose CEO Vic Alhadeff was quick to act.

From Reddam’s principal Dave Pitcairn:

 

Dave Pitcairn

Reddam Principal Dave Pitcairn

“An anti-Semitic incident occurred before and after the Year 8 boy’s touch football game against Moriah last week.

Phil Kable, Head of Sport, who was there, put an immediate stop to the behaviour. He wrote to Moriah apologising for the incident, explaining it would be dealt with by our school.

I have met with the boys and they were oblivious to the offensive nature of the game they were playing. The negative stereotyping it involved escaped them. The composition of the Reddam team includes seven Jewish students and it defies belief that they were part of this behaviour.

They each received 8 demerits and their parents have been contacted. Following my discussion with them, there is an understanding of how inappropriate and appalling their behaviour was.

In assembly last Friday I spoke at lengths to the Middle School about this behaviour and referred to all forms of discrimination as explained by our discipline code. Those in assembly would be aware of this and the school’s condemnation of this behaviour.

The students are all aware that this behavior will not be tolerated and that should racial vilification rear its head again, the students involved would be asked to leave our school immediately.

Rabbi Kastel, in his capacity as a member of the Reddam Board, and I have met with Vic Alhadeff, the CEO of NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, and have accepted his offer to speak at our assembly this Friday. His presentation will encompass all racism and will not refer directly to the incident.

The Year 8 students will also undergo a “Respect, Understanding, Acceptance” schools harmony program next term at the Jewish Museum.

Vic Alhadeff is happy that we have done all that we can to respond to this incident.

I am convinced that this is an isolated incident of stupidity rather than any religious or racial vilification and have never come across this game before in my sixteen years as principal of Reddam House.”

From Moriah’s principal John Hamey:

Moriah principal John Hamey

Moriah principal John Hamey

“Moriah College followed its usual protocol in such matters, by referring it directly to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. They acted promptly on our concerns.

The coach of our team did take action on the day, asking the boys from the other school to refrain from the behaviour they were displaying.
I was pleased with the way our students managed themselves in response to the incident, and the maturity and sportsmanship they displayed.
Reddam College and its Principal have taken our concerns seriously, and responded quickly to Vic Alhadeff in his request to meet with them.
As always, we are appreciative of the work of the NSW JBD, and their ability in managing these incidents sensitively on our behalf.”
From NSWJBD CEO Vic Alhadeff:

“I applaud Mr Pitcairn for showing strong and firm leadership on this issue. The events were appalling and Mr Pitcairn could not have taken the matter more seriously. Our meeting was positive and productive, and the school has taken steps to deliver a clear message to all students that such conduct will not be tolerated. It’s important to note that this is the first such incident at Reddam to have come to our attention. It is also shocking that 7 of the 11 offenders are Jewish.”

I met with Mr Pitcairn and put two suggestions to him – for Reddam to take part in our Respect, Understanding Acceptance schools harmony program, and I would do a presentation on leadership and racism to the school assembly. Both proposals were accepted.”

Reddam won the match 10/9.

 

 

Comments

12 Responses to “A school touch footy match goes horribly wrong”
  1. Louise Solofania says:

    I have family friends at Reddam who have told me how well the school has responded. 8 demerits is one demerit shy of suspension and 12 demerits is expulsion. The school is further educating the students on how unacceptable this behaviour was. Even the year sixes were brought to the middle school assembly so they could hear Vic speak. A year five class made their class assembly on diversity and acceptance. The principal, Mr Pitcairn told students to not defend the school, even though some things put in the articles were inaccurate, do not feel the need to defend the school, as the school was in the wrong and must accept the consequences. They were told to definitely not make excuses like they provoked us, because they were, once again in the wrong.

    • admin says:

      Please let us know what was inaccurate

    • Gil Solomon says:

      Louise,

      You seem to refuse to acknowledge the main issue in that the anti-Semitic comments came from Jewish students. One has to wonder what kind of Jewish upbringing, if any, do your “family friends” at Reddam instil in their children? This bunch appear to have lost (if they ever possessed it) their religion and heritage long ago.

      The school seems to have acted wisely in their response to this issue.
      It’s a pity the Jewish community will not shed political correctness and tackle the issue of a sure as hell lost generation in these kids in particular and how many else, who knows.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      this was not a simple matter of an “incident”, but a one of substantive educational shortcomings at a school with the serious responsibility of enhancing the identity of its students, not eroding it. One expects comprehensive education. Jazz ballet classes and other important such curriculum items cannot substitute the function of “creating” a comprehensive citizen.

      • Gil Solomon says:

        Otto,

        The school is not to blame here.
        Any shortcoming was the direct responsibility of the Jewish parents who obviously instilled nothing of Judaism into their offspring. Maybe they are so far removed from their religion and heritage that they had nothing to impart in the first place. One cannot fault the actions taken by Reddam in these circumstances.
        The Jewish community has to wake up and call a spade a spade.
        The time for political correctness is over.

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          Gil,

          in my initial posting I made exactly the same points as yours in regards to the responsibility of the parents, BUT, not just because the incident was school related, REDDAM have been promoting the profile of a school which IMPLICITLY and EXPLICITLY associated its curriculum , its general aspect with the Jewish community. As we all know, without the Jewish students first attending the school when first opened, Reddam would not have existed, as simple as that. Reddam has educational functions cum responsibilities, the PARENTS are primordially responsible, I agree and NSWJBD, Jewish Education Board the Rabbis attending are all a part of the process.
          Read pls. my 1st posting and I have there a few things to say abt all this.

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    On a clear day you can see the outcome of a divided Jewish community in the most relevant of intra-communal conflict between strands of Jewish identities.
    Reddam has been considered from its inception/invention as an alternative Jewish school with a known high percentage of Jewish students. Most of those students traversed from other Jewish private schools, mainly Emmanuel.
    This is a necessary ( sad) wake up call to the critical level of Jewish education in our community, both at parental and well as student level OUTSIDE the traditional, much better managed POPER Jewish schools – with whatever degrees of observance -.
    This is not just a footy game gone real bad, but a very serious generational issue and I would venture a percentage of critical level of our own current youngest generation of Jews being de-spirited away from our communal norms cum identity at a rate too horrendous to put down – or out -.
    I trust the NSWJBD to spring into action and so wish I was there………….. _ (Vic’s got me numba !!!)

  3. Gil Solomon says:

    Do the families of these Jewish boys have anything to say about the disgraceful attitude of their children to their heritage and also, why are the names of these families not mentioned? What kind of upbringing have these parents instilled in their children? In a case like this, with so called Jews uttering anti-Semitic slogans at other Jewish kids, why is there the as usual hush up, with the Board of Deputies no doubt arranging the usual useless tour of the Jewish Museum, as if this somehow means much to families who have strayed so far from their religion and heritage that they treat it with contempt. The bottom line is that these young adults are already forever lost to the Jewish world. Their actions indicate they are too far gone and the endless lecturing about to take place will fall on deaf ears.

    It is tragic that those same Jewish (probably by birth only for what they know) parents who can afford to pay the tuition fees for a private school insist on sending their children to a non Jewish private school while at the same time instilling not an ounce of “Yiddishkeit” to their offspring at home.

  4. Yosi Tal says:

    Beggars belief.What is being taught at Reddam?the major offenders should have the very least been suspended from school.What sort of message is this school giving.Disgraceful.

  5. Henry Herzog says:

    Maybe 40-50 years ago it could have been an excuse that those kids’ behaviour wasn’t known to them as being offensive, although as a form 2 kid in those days and attending a state school we would certainly have known it was anti-Semitic. But today, with all the media talking about racism and tolerance etc., it’s beyond comprehension, particularly that the Jewish kids from Reddam joining in the “fun”. Oh yes, of course, it’s all about this restrictive thing called political correctness, free speech and bigots also having rights.
    Very disturbing still, how 14-15 year olds aren’t sensitive or intune to such blatant racism.

    • Henry Herzog says:

      PS. Who gives a toss who won, J Wire staff!!!

      • Hanz Gruber says:

        It was a great display of touch football skillz by both sides. This win puts Reddam in position to win the minor premiership and the elusive Yiddishe Cup, a feat not achieved since 2005.

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