STUDENTS at Sydney’s Shore school will be addressed on leadership and racism by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) after an image surfaced of the school’s deputy headmaster with a group of students making a salute alongside a Nazi flag.
The incident occurred last year when a group of year 12 boys at the prestigious school urged their teacher, deputy headmaster Rod Morrison, into a photo.
“The boys then unfurled a Nazi flag and saluted at the camera,” Shore headmaster Dr Timothy Wright wrote in a statement to parents.
“As soon as Mr Morrison realised what had happened he expressly made it clear that the photograph was completely inappropriate.”
Wright said this was an “ill-conceived prank” and a display of “very poor judgment by those caught up in the euphoria of the end of school”.
“The image is clearly insensitive and offensive and in no way consistent with the values shared by Mr Morrison and the school. For any offence given the school unreservedly apologises.”
JBOD chief executive Vic Alhadeff said, “It is very unfortunate that we increasingly see trivialisation of Nazi symbols and of the atrocities that lay behind them.
“There were 50,000 students who were also caught up in ‘the euphoria of the end of school’ who did not choose to pose in front of a Nazi flag,” Alhadeff lamented.
“Year 12 students should know better. We have invited those involved to undertake a guided tour of the Sydney Jewish Museum by Holocaust survivors so that they can see first-hand the horrors that they were making light of.”
The AJN understands the school has undertaken to approach the former students who were involved in the incident – they graduated last year – to extend the invitation to tour the museum.
Alhadeff will also be addressing the school assembly on “leadership and racism” at the beginning of next term.
Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich said disturbing and offensive acts such as these “should not be taken lightly or dismissed as a prank”.
“There is nothing funny, silly or playful about the brutal extermination of six million Jews and millions of others, and one wonders what motivated those young people to choose the universal symbol of hatred,” Abramovich said.
He added that at a time of a surge in anti-Semitism and bigotry, this incident “clearly underscores the critical and urgent need for Holocaust education to be introduced in schools across the nation so students can learn its lessons”.