At least ten students at a Florida middle school assaulted or encouraged assault of Jewish classmates in what they called "Kick a Jew Day". It was not the first incident of its kind.
The phenomenon was "very widespread, happening all over school."
A Jewish student at the North Naples Middle School in Florida informed the dean of students last Thursday that she was attacked. The next day, after Principal Margaret Jackson addressed students, her office was informed of at least ten students involved in such kicking incidents.
One student told the local NBC television station correspondent that the phenomenon was "very widespread, happening all over school." In a letter to school officials, the parents of a Jewish student said that their daughter was taunted and kicked by several other students. "Apparently many kids, all Jewish, were kicked during the day," the parent wrote.
The North Naples Middle School students who the principal said took part in the "Kick a Jew Day" attacks received a one-day, in-school suspension and their parents were informed. In the wake of the incident, the school administration has decided to devote the first 20 minutes of every day to discussing respect, kindness and bullying prevention, naplesnews.com reported.
The regional Naples web site also quoted David Barkey of the Florida branch of the Anti-Defamation League as saying, "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."
'Kick a Ginger Day', Too
One day after the "Kick a Jew Day" incident in Florida, a Los Angeles middle school student was attacked twice by over a dozen other children, apparently just for having red hair. He sought assistance from the school nurse, who informed the principal, and the principal immediately called the police to the school.
Investigating officers believe the Los Angeles incident was inspired by a Facebook message saying Friday was "Kick a Ginger Day", in reference to people with red hair. They also suspect other red-haired students were also targeted. No suspects have been apprehended in the attacks.
In October of last year, students at a suburban Missouri middle school attacked Jewish classmates in what they called "Hit a Jew Day". Several Jewish children were hit on the back or slapped, while others were taunted. The incident was reportedly preceded by "Hit a Tall Person Day".
Also last year, in November, Canadian schools were alerted to a Facebook group called "National Kick a Ginger Day", which boasted nearly 5,000 members at the time. It was believed that the idea came from the adult animated TV show South Park.
There were subsequent reports of red-headed children getting kicked on November 20, the same day of the month as this year's more violent "Kick a Ginger" incident in Los Angeles.