Posted on 27 Aug 2020
Slater and Gordon Lawyers are investigating allegations of anti-Semitic bullying and racial vilification at Brighton Secondary College.
The leading law firm is providing legal advice to several former students who have been exposed to significant, ongoing anti-Semitic behaviour from both students and teachers at the school.
Slater and Gordon Public Liability Principal Lawyer Barrie Woollacott said the school had failed to take appropriate action to combat the anti-Semitic atmosphere at the school and on countless occasions failed to take specific action against perpetrators of racial abuse.
“The former students experienced a culture of name calling, cyber bullying, derogatory commentary, physical assaults and symbolisation aimed specifically at Jewish students,” Mr Woollacott said.
“They have said that there were, at any time, hundreds of swastikas drawn on school property. The stories from these former students of flagrant, unchecked anti-Semitic behaviour and abuse are quite confronting and it is difficult to imagine how miserable and stressful daily school life was like for them.”
Mr Woollacott said the school had a duty of care to protect its students from this kind of behaviour and to have proper processes in place to deal with it.
“For these young kids to have to go to school every day and endure the vilification of their religion and culture to the point where they had to leave the school, is shocking, and has impacted each of them significantly,” Mr Woollacott said.
“I am pretty sure there are other kids out there in the community who have experienced similar abuse and bullying but who may be too scared to speak up. It is important for them to know that they are not alone and that they should not have to endure this behaviour.”
The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) has commissioned an independent investigation into allegations of anti-Semitic and racial abuse at the school.
Slater and Gordon are working with a number of families in relation to this investigation and assisting them to tell their story to ensure their experiences are properly documented and taken into consideration as part of the investigation.
“We are concerned the reported episodes are not isolated incidents and may be indicative of a larger problem within the school community,” Mr Woollacott said.
“We are encouraging any other families and students from Brighton Secondary College or other schools or institutions to come forward with their experiences to ensure proper actions are taken to prevent this happening to students going forward.”
If you wish to contact Slater and Gordon please email Jane.McCullough@slatergordon.com.au or phone (03) 8644 8404.