There are disturbing accusations of anti-Semitism at a Collier County school. Ten students are serving suspensions for their roles in what was called "Kick a Jew Day" at North Naples Middle.Reaction from the Jewish community was not long in coming:
We talked to one student Monday who said this was happening all over school. We also talked to several parents who are flat-out furious.
"Oh, I think it's horrible. I don't understand why they would do that," said parent Jodie Hovland.
According to the Collier County School District, 10 students were suspended for their roles in "Kick a Jew Day" last week.
Word had spread around school that if you saw a Jewish student on Thursday, you were supposed to kick them, as was first reported by our news gathering partners at the Naples Daily News
David Barkey, south area council for the Florida Anti-Definmation League, said the organization had been made aware of the incident.As far as the punishment goes, the children involved were suspended in-school for one day, the parents of the children were called into school for a meeting and until further notice, the first 20 minutes of the school day, which is normally used for reading and tutoring, will instead be used for stressing character traits such as respect and kindness.
“You are talking about an incident that has anti-Jewish bias if not anti-Semitism. You have Jewish students being singled out, harassed and assaulted,” he said. “If the allegations are true, it is possible these students violated Florida’s new anti-bullying law. And, if students were physically assaulted, it could rise to the level of criminal conduct.”
Rabbi James Perman, of Temple Shalom in North Naples, called the situation “alarming.”
“I can tell you this: I haven’t seen anything like it in my 17 years in Naples. No child deserves this kind of treatment,” he wrote in an e-mail Monday. “Their parents are understandably outraged. So far it seems that the school system has taken appropriate measures and we applaud their efforts. At this point, teaching sensitive awareness is more important than punishing anyone.”
The new anti-bullying law referred to by Barkey is fairly clear:
The Collier County School District has a policy on bullying and harassment. It defines bullying as “systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees.”Not bad.
Harassment is defined as “any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property,” among other things.
The students were disciplined in accordance with the bullying and harassment policy, which can range from “positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct,” according to the district’s policy.
Now if only the UN can get their act together and define 'terrorism,' especially in the Middle East, where the stakes are a good deal higher.
Note: There is absolutely no indication that this was something done or instigated by Muslim students.
Technorati Tag: Anti-Semitism.