Feb 23, 2022

By Jane Brown

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Decision makers at the Toronto District School Board say they will provide more education on the Holocaust following a number of recent antisemitic incidents in schools.

The most recent incident was at Valley Park Middle School, near Overlea Boulevard and Don Mills Road on February 17th, when students allegedly performed the Nazi salute in front of classmates and a Jewish teacher.

TDSB Spokesperson Sherry Schwartz-Maltz says a French teacher, who is the child of Holocaust survivors, had just left her classroom and when she returned “several students surrounded her and have her the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory is commenting on what he calls a sad and hurtful incident, and says education is key.

“It’s obvious to me, those students will not have been aware in doing that of the searing impact that has on the people of the Jewish faith and how and it so completely inconsistent with how we live in this city,” Mayor Tory explained.

The mayor says he’s spoken with TDSB chair Alexander Brown to stress the urgency of these incidents and to discuss what they can do together to address them.

However, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center is calling on the TDSB to intervene at a board-wide level to “to address the escalation in antisemitic incidents and level of seriousness of these incidents at Toronto schools.”

“It is hard to fathom that in 2022 we are dealing with repeated instances of vandalism of swastikas at schools and of course today another example of Nazi salutes and chants of ‘Heil Hitler’ but this time the target is a Jewish teacher. It is a Jewish teacher that walked into a classroom and was subjected to this hateful display,” FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt said during an interview with CP24 on Tuesday morning. Levitt will have more to say during a conversation on Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer at 12:45pm Wednesday.

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