Media Statements

Joint Statement - Reports of Anti-Semitic Bullying at Brighton Secondary College

Joint Statement – Anti-Semitic Bullying

09 July 2020.

Reports today in the Australian Jewish News of multiple incidents of anti-Semitic bullying at a State Secondary College once again highlight the systemic failures of the Victorian Department of Education under the Andrews Labor Government.

Over a period of five years, two Jewish students at this school reportedly endured ongoing bullying based on their faith and identify, with reports of vile names and derogatory comments being directed at the students and teachers themselves refusing to acknowledge their Israeli heritage, instead labelling them “Palestinian” and requiring them to remove their kippah.

Alarmingly, no serious action was ever taken when the mother of the students raised these matters with the Department of Education. Shockingly, the mother did not even receive a response. The Anti-Defamation Commission should be commended for intervening on the family’s behalf.

Today’s reports follow similar incidents of anti-Semitic bullying at Cheltenham Secondary College and Hawthorn West Primary Schools and the circulation of politically biased VEC materials Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) in July 2019.

As members of the current Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Victoria’s anti-vilification laws, we know that there are systemic issues within the Victorian Department of Education and highlight a failing of the Andrews Labor Government to address and rectify anti-Semitic bullying within Victoria’s education system.

Enough is enough. Every student deserves to be safe in the classroom, schoolyard and within the school community. Daniel Andrews must urgently and personally address the systemic failings with the Department of Education that has enabled repeated cases of anti-Semitic bullying to occur.

James Newbury, Member for Brighton

David Southwick, Member for Caulfield

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