Students faced ‘anti-Semitic’ culture at Brighton Secondary College, Federal Court told


He said he was subject to constant verbal and physical attacks, was called a “f—ing Jew” and spat on, his notebook was defaced with Stars of David, his kippah was thrown in the bin, money was thrown at him, and he was called a “dirty Jew” or told to “burn in an oven”. He experienced Nazi salutes and “heil Hitlers”.

He said there were “swastikas everywhere” – in the bathroom, in the classroom, on the tables and underneath the tables. He said he would report each incident to the administrators’ office, but said his reports were “never” followed up.

Butt told the court anti-Semitic incidents at the school rose after students studied the graphic novel badwhich is about the horrors of the Holocaust, and after an assembly speech from the principal Richard Minack.

Butt said that in the speech Minack endorsed a Nazi regarding a good man and called Jews “subhuman or evil”. Butt told the court Minack used the “N word” three times and called Jews “subhuman” four times.

“We do submit there was a normalized culture of anti-Semitism – and the actions of students and staff did go substantially unpunished,” he said.

Chris Young, QC, acting on behalf of the state of Victoria and the education staff, denied the allegations made against them.

Young said each of the five complainants’ allegations would have to be tested individually. He said they would outline steps the principal and staff took to punish wrongdoings and said the school had a number of policies in place to deal with bullying and racism.

The case comes a month after the Victorian government announced it was introducing new laws to criminalize the swastika, in which offenders could face up to 12 months in jail.

The trial continues before Justice Debra Mortimer on Thursday.

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