Ontario school board condemns anti-Semitic TikTok video shot on school grounds

Canadian Jewish org calls video of students making Nazi salutes and chanting "Heil Hitler" a "sad reflection on the state of our society."

Dan Verbin, Canada ,

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In response to a “disturbing” video of students on the grounds of a North Bay, Ontario school doing Nazi salutes while chanting “Heil Hitler” and making offensive statements about Jews, the local school board has issued a letter condemning the incident.

The behavior of the students – captured on a cellphone video that was uploaded to social media site TikTok as part of a “TikTok challenge” – led to widespread criticism from the Jewish community and Canadian anti-racism organizations.

The Conseil scolaire catholique Franco-Nord school board said that the incident took place on September 16 and involved a group of 7th and 8th graders, confirming that it was part of a “a challenge that was circulating on TikTok.”

“The challenge was to promote hate and the public display of it on school grounds. We thank the community leaders for denouncing the incident as well as our staff. We recognize the importance of working together for the benefit of our youth and that this is indeed our collective role. Moreover, it is together that we can better educate youth about the dangers of social media,” the board wrote in the letter.

The incident will have consequences for the students as “this type of behaviour is not tolerated in our schools,” the board stressed.

Besides inviting expert guests to “provide the entire school community with dialogue and knowledge that can contribute to the social growth of youth and staff,” the students in the video will be asked to “make a restorative gesture just as public as their previous actions.”

The board said it will insist that the students admit their “lack of discernment, digital citizenship, and the extent to which they have harmed the well-being of community members in the region and even the country.”

They added that education is the key to end anti-Semitism, bullying and other forms of discrimination, and that speaking out against prejudice is essential for “ensuring a value-based school community that contributes positively and responsibly to the society we want for our children and future generations.”

“We are heartbroken by what has happened and will not tolerate such behavior in school. We are committed to increasing dialogue and knowledge in our classrooms and to supporting our students on their journey,” the board said.

The incident was responded to by local police, after parents viewed the video and were outraged, BayToday reported.

Witnesses said that at least one staff member saw the students marching around school grounds but did not take action.

Martin Sampson, vice president of communications and marketing for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), called for the incident to be handled decisively otherwise “we risk a further slide in the creeping normalcy of anti-Semitism and that is really bad for everyone.”

“Marching through a schoolyard with arms raised in Nazi salute shouting 'F*** the Jews!' is hate speech,” he told Sudbury.com.

He described the video as ”more of a sad reflection on the state of our society which has allowed this hatred to seep into the minds of young people than it is an indictment of these particular young people."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)



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