A Jewish student at a prestigious private school in Britain was left distraught after a non-Jewish teacher, employed at the Independent North London Collegiate School, caught her cutting the lunch line and told her to get to the back or she would be sent to “one of your gas chambers.”
The whole incident has been hushed up by the school’s authorities who have refused to reveal the identity of the teacher, simply confirming that the correct course of legal action has been taken.
The parents of the student, who was aged 17 at the time of the incident, have asked the Dean of the school to make a public statement underlining the seriousness of the outburst. According to the girl’s father, the comment was made to his daughter after she unhooked a rope barrier in the lunch line and cut in.
The outburst was heard by a number of students, who whispered among themselves in disbelief that a non-Jewish teacher would say such a thing at a school with so many Jewish students. However, anti-Semitism and racism don’t always follow normative protocols.
According to the student’s father: “A teacher was passing by and she rushed up to my daughter and said, “Don’t do that or I’ll have to send you to the back of the queue or to one of your gas chambers.”
The student and the teacher didn’t know each other personally, even though the teacher had been employed at the North London Collegiate School for several years. The father continued to explain: ‘It was very unpleasant, very uncalled-for and very unfortunate. My daughter was shocked and upset. She didn’t say anything to the teacher at the time but all her friends expressed amazement. They kept saying, “Did she really say that?”
The incident was also reported to the CST (Community Security Trust), which is an organisation that protects Jews from anti-Semitic attacks in Britain. The director of the trust, Mark Gardner, said: ‘This would be highly offensive in any circumstance, but to be directed at a pupil by a teacher is unheard of and makes it far worse. We are working with all parties to resolve the matter.”
The student’s family say there has been a severe lack of transparency in the investigation into the racist remarks, and that they have no idea what sanctions, if any, have been taken against the teacher in question.
The girl’s father said: ‘The school doesn’t deserve to be in the middle of a race issue. It is normally a model of correctness in these things. But there should be an element of visibility so people see the teacher has been disciplined. My wife and I would also like the school to make a public statement that there has been an incident and [the remark] was totally unacceptable.”
The school said in a statement: “North London Collegiate School is proud of its rich, multi-cultural history and celebrates equality and diversity within the school community. The school was recently made aware of an allegation of an offensive statement made by a member of staff. The school promptly commenced an investigation. Having reached a determination and sought specialist legal advice, appropriate action was taken.”