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November 26, 2021 12:56 pm

Jewish Students Sue Australian State of Victoria Over Antisemitic Bullying at Secondary College

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[Illustrative] Antisemitic graffiti found scrawled at a cafe, in Melbourne, Australia, July 4, 2019. Photo: Screenshot.

The government in the Australian state of Victoria is being sued by five Jewish students who say they endured years of antisemitic bullying at Brighton Secondary College in the city of Melbourne.

On Friday, Sky News Australia reported that the Victoria state government, the principal and two teachers at the college face a Federal Court hearing in proceedings for breaching of the Racial Discrimination Act and negligence.

The students accused the school of turning a blind eye to abuse and of violating their human rights by creating a “prison culture” on the college’s grounds.

Lawyers for the Victorian government and school staff deny the allegations and declined to comment, the broadcaster reported.

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The development comes one year after parents of the students expressed frustration with the results of an inquiry into the abuse, which came forward with a number of recommendations but failed to hold the current leadership of the college to account.

“The families do not believe that the report and its findings go in any way far enough towards combating a significant problem of antisemitism at Brighton Secondary College, nor does it provide an acceptable outcome or justice for them,” Jane McCullough, a lawyer representing the students, said at the time. “The families will continue to fight to be heard and for justice for their children.”

The inquiry was launched in the summer following an investigative report by The Australian Jewish News into the college.   

The paper discovered an extensive list of bullying claims “that spanned years, with one Jewish student said to have been lured to a park where he was robbed and beaten at night, and another allegedly threatened with a knife in a school bathroom. One boy said he was told to ‘Get in my oven’ and had ‘Heil Hitler’ chanted at him. Countless instances of swastikas were said to be daubed on school walls and property, and allegations of inaction were directed at the principal and coordinators.”

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