Australian School Principal Poses With Children in Blackface, Hitler Costume
A leading Australian Jewish group has condemned a primary school in the country after students were photographed wearing racist costumes — including donning blackface and dressing as Adolf Hitler.
Students at Rowena Public School in a small town in New South Wales participated in a dress-up day earlier this month by celebrating famous people from history, New Matilda reported — with one young girl wearing a Nazi uniform, complete with a swastika arm band and a Hitler-esque mustache.
Another students arrived to school in full blackface, as part of a tribute to American athlete Jesse Owens.
The school’s principal, Paul Cecil, posed with the children for photographs, and then published the images on the school’s official Facebook page, drawing outrage and complaints. The school has since “unreservedly” apologized for the incident, writing on social media, “These photos were unacceptable. Rowena Public School is a caring and supportive learning environment. We reject racism in all its form.”
The Facebook page has since been shut down.
“I am dumbfounded by the level of ignorance demonstrated by this distressing and alarming incident,” Anti-Defamation Commission Chairman Dvir Abramovich said in a statement sent to The Algemeiner on Thursday. “It’s so disappointing that egregious actions like this continue to happen in our nation.”
“We should all be asking themselves: where did these young people learn that it was OK to dress up in such costumes?” he continued. “And why did the principal, who is supposed to be a role model, exhibit such a serious lapse in judgement by approving of such conduct and posting those images?”
While accepting the apology issued, Abramovich called on the Australian government to tackle the “larger problem” by introducing “mandatory anti-bias programs and Holocaust education at all schools so students understand the importance of combatting all forms of intolerance.”
In August, photographed emerged of students from the University of Adelaide in South Australia wearing blackface at parties and dressing as Nazis and concentration camp prisoners — complete with mock hooked noses, identification number tattoos, and yellow Stars of David.
The Australasian Union of Jewish Students criticized the “appalling” behavior at the time, warning that it “denigrates the memory of the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews and millions of others during the Holocaust and trivialises the horrific crimes perpetrated by the Nazis.”
In June, students at Australia’s Charles Stuart University were condemned after photographs surfaced of them wearing Nazi concentration camp costumes, Ku Klux Klan robes, and blackface. The Melbourne-based Anti-Defamation Commission called the incident “vulgar, insensitive and shocking.”