Sydney, Australia
Sydney, AustraliaiStock

An Australian Catholic boys school has been accused of fostering a culture of antisemitism, including downplaying incidents of anti-Jewish behavior.

Waverly College, a primary and secondary day school located in Sydney suburb Waverly, was the subject of an interview in The Daily Telegraph in which a student said it was common for antisemitic slurs to be spoken in the halls and for Nazi salutes to be performed. The unnamed student also said that Jewish students and staff had been the targets of abuse, and that antisemitic phrases such as “f**k the Jews”, “you Jewish sl**” and “I idolize Hitler” were overheard on school grounds.

The student also said that last year a Jewish family walking by the school were the target of abuse by students on the other side of the fence.

The issue came to the public’s attention after six ninth grade pupils were expelled from the school for an October hazing ritual on a group of seventh graders in which they were taken into a room without security cameras. During the hazing, an older student forcibly drew a swastika on the wrist of a seventh grader. A parent said that the school downplayed the issue and blamed it on the older boy trying to get the younger boy in trouble.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark slammed the school for ignoring alleged antisemitic behavior he described as “troubling.”

“Nazi symbols, in particular the Nazi swastika, are an internationally recognized symbol of hate that are now illegal in NSW. Sadly, our school children are not getting the message,” Bark told the Australian Jewish News.

“In recent months, we have seen a culture of Nazi symbols and salutes being performed in public and private schools across NSW. This abhorrent behaviour needs to stop,” he said. “The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has been working closely with a number of schools whose students have been involved in antisemitic bullying, and we look forward to meeting with Waverley College and facilitating a visit to the Sydney Jewish Museum for the students involved in these despicable acts.”

“We commend the NSW government and opposition for their strong opposition to faith-based bullying in our schools and will continue working with MPs from both sides until this appalling behaviour is eliminated,” Bark added.