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Joint statement on bullying allegations

9 July 2020

Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler and Zionism Victoria President Sharene Hambur today wrote to Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino to express their grave concern at the report in the Australian Jewish News, which alleged a sustained campaign of antisemitic bullying at Brighton Secondary College.

The report comes just six months after the Department of Education and Training finalised a review about allegations of antisemitism in Victorian schools last year.

That review’s recommendations included the creation of a dedicated contact desk for students and families to report antisemitic incidents, the establishment of an advisory group with representatives from Jewish groups and an urgent review of protocols in regards to how schools respond to antisemitic incidents.

Mr Leibler said, “The Australian Jewish News story is very concerning. I welcome Mr Merlino’s forthright condemnation of all antisemitism and his announcement of a departmental investigation. In our letter to Mr Merlino, we noted that many of the recommendations of the previous investigation have been implemented, and requested an update as to their status.”

Ms Hambur said, “It is deeply troubling that years-long antisemitic bullying took place with no effective action from the school. That said, Mr Merlino has a history of strong leadership in regards to antisemitism and we look forward to the outcome of the renewed departmental investigation and the concrete action that will result.”