Anti-Semitism Reports Grow in Sydney Schools

A former parent of Cranbrook told this masthead on Friday that she was aware of anti-Semitic bullying at the school, including the regular appearance of Nazi symbols, dating back to 2017.

Sampson said anti-Semitic behavior was “appalling” and the school was taking active steps to address it. This includes school meetings and a field trip to the Sydney Jewish Museum for 9th grade students.

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the Herald can now reveal that Rose Bay Secondary College was the unnamed public school in last week’s story, where bullies used the Discord messaging app to send messages like “stupid Jew n—-r” and “I hope your family being gassed”.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said that when Rose Bay Secondary College was notified of anti-Semitic incidents at the school, it immediately took steps to stop it and provided counseling to students affected by the behavior.

At a recent gathering, students heard from a teacher whose parents were Holocaust survivors and from a student who won a public speaking contest with a story about his grandfather acting to save others during the Holocaust.

The Department of Education has a number of anti-racism education and cultural inclusion programs, while students in all NSW schools learn about the Nazi Holocaust through both compulsory and elective courses.

The College of Deputies has launched an online reporting portal to make it easier to report anti-Semitic bullying and choose whether to provide details or remain anonymous.

While Sydney’s eastern suburbs have the highest Jewish population in NSW, Darren Bark, the chief executive of the Board of Deputies, said reports had been pouring in from across the state. In one case, at an independent school in the Northern Rivers, a 7-year-old boy pretended to shoot his peers with his fingers in the shape of a gun and said “shoot the Jew”.

Bark said the schools themselves should have similar online tools to collect reports of antisocial behavior or harassment, not just anti-Semitism.

“No matter what the school is, public or private, it should be easier to get up, speak up, and report the bullying than it is to commit the act,” Bark said. “This is currently not the case.”

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Bark said families were reluctant to report behavior for fear of retaliation from bullies or being labeled as troublemakers by school officials.

The Ministry of Education has an online feedback form at the bottom of departmental and school web pages, with the option to remain anonymous.

A recent academic survey found widespread religious bullying among Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish students in Australian schools.

Attorney Mariam Veiszadeh said reports through the Islamophobia Register regularly include incidents in schools. Across all age groups, Veiszadeh said the perpetrators were mostly men, while the targets were mostly Muslim girls and women, who were often more visible because of their clothing.

She said anonymous reporting options were important, but people who keep records should be aware of the risk of fake reports.

LGBTQI advocacy groups say homophobic and transphobic bullying also remains a serious problem in schools and is not helped by the fact that private schools are exempt from anti-discrimination laws.

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