Anti-Semitic bullying prompts government investigation

July 17, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino has asked the Education Department to call for an independent investigation on anti-Semitic bullying in a Melbourne school.

James Merlino

The Herald Sun has reported six teenagers allegedly assaulted and robbed a 14-yr-old boy late at night in a park. The report said he was “lured by a girl from school”.

The attack was in April and now six boys aged between 14 and 16 have been charged with robbery and assault.

The boys was allegedly taunted in his school and through social media. The paper reports he had been “persistently bullied’  and “that he would run faster in PE class if money was placed at the end of the running track”.

James Merlino said: “It is extremely concerning to see a second set of very serious allegations of anti-Semitism at Brighton Secondary College inside a week.

Our schools and our broader community have to address anti-Semitism wherever it arises. I expect nothing less.

It is important to me that the families involved in these incidents have faith that any investigation is fair and transparent.

That is why I have asked my Department to commission an independent investigation to get to the bottom of what has happened and to examine how the school has handled these troubling allegations.

This will be carried out by an independent investigator who will be engaged in the coming days.

I urge any current or former students with similar complaints to contact the Department’s dedicated Report Racism hotline so they can put you in touch with the independent investigator.

My message is clear: you will be taken seriously and your complaints will be thoroughly investigated.

Discrimination of any form, including anti-Semitism, is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated at this or any school.”

Jennifer Huppert

President of The Jewish Community Council of Victoria Jennifer Huppert told J-Wire: “The JCCV is very concerned at the reports of antisemitic bullying experienced by students at Brighton Secondary College.  Of particular concern are the reports that the perpetrators of this bullying included teaching staff, as well as students. The reported behaviour is simply not acceptable,

I welcome the statement by Education Minister James Merlino that he has ‘zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism’, and am pleased that the Victorian Government has launched an independent investigation into the incidents.

On reading the initial report regarding these incidents I wrote to  Minster Merlino to express the concerns of the JCCV.  I have since been contacted by the Minister’s office, and I and other Jewish community leaders are meeting him next week to discuss the issues further.”

James Merlino’s spokesman said: “The findings and any recommendations emerging from the report will be shared with families.”

DET’s Report Racism hotline is: ‪03 7022 5500.

(In an emergency, contact Victoria Police on 000. If your concern is non-urgent but you would like to contact the police, call ‪131 444).


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