‘Clearly Something Is Broken’: Canadian Jewish Groups Call for ‘Immediate’ Action After Latest Nazi Salute Incident in Toronto Schools
Police in Canada are investigating an incident from last week that saw students at Valley Park Middle School in Toronto, Ontario, surround a Jewish teacher — the daughter of Holocaust survivors — and perform a Nazi salute.
The act — which took place on Thursday — was “very hateful, very hurtful, [and] very upsetting to the teacher,” a Toronto District School Board (TDSB) spokesperson, Shari Schwartz-Maltz, said.
“It’s had a deep effect on her, and she is the child of survivors,” Schwartz-Maltz noted. “You can imagine how she felt.”
She added, “There will be consequences [for the students],” and vowed the TDSB was working to “bring more Holocaust education into our schools.”
“I’m feeling sad and emotional today, but I’m also feeling very hopeful because we have this commitment,” she said. “It has to stop, and our contribution is education.”
A similar incident — involving a Nazi salute by students and swastika graffiti — occurred at Charles H. Best Middle School in Toronto earlier this month.
Also this month, a teacher at Ledbury Park Elementary and Middle School in Toronto was removed from the classroom after comparing Covid-19 vaccine mandates to the yellow Stars of David the Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust.
B’nai B’rith Canada said on Tuesday it was “deeply disturbed and outraged” by the latest “egregious antisemitic act” in Toronto’s school system, adding that the TDSB “needs to get control of this situation immediately.”
Noah Shack — Vice President of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) — called the incident “unacceptable.”
“The frequency of antisemitism in Toronto schools underscores the need for proactive measures,” he said.
Michael Levitt — President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center — stated, “This wave of antisemitism at TDSB schools that we are seeing is unprecedented in terms of both number of incidents and their escalating gravity.”
“Antisemitism has reached epidemic proportions at TDSB, and it is time for the Board to recognize this as the crisis that it is,” he continued. “It is unfathomable and shocking that, in 2022, a Jewish teacher is faced with Nazi salutes and a ‘Heil Hitler’ chant in her classroom. Clearly, something is broken in Toronto’s public school system and requires immediate attention.”