Former Brighton Secondary College students Matt Kaplan and Liam Arnold-Levy have accused the school of ignoring complaints of anti-Semitism. (Luis Enrique Ascui)

Former Brighton Secondary student ‘didn’t feel safe’, court hears

A former Brighton Secondary College student said he “didn’t feel safe” to be Jewish at the school and was no longer proud of who he was, a court heard on Thursday.

Matt Kaplan, 17, went from being dux of the school in year 7 to struggling to keep up and said he was spat at, kicked, called a “f—ing Jew”, told to get in an oven, faced swastikas and daily anti-Semitism including “Heil Hitlers” and Nazi salutes.

He is one of five Jewish students suing the state and Brighton Secondary College for negligence and failing to protect them from racial discrimination in the Federal Court of Australia.

Kaplan told the court his Polish grandfather’s four brothers were murdered in the Holocaust. His grandfather escaped to Russia, then to Israel where his father was born.

During his time at the school, from year 7 to year 10, he said he saw 80 to 130 swastikas and struggled to cope with the constant abuse.

“I’m going mental. It was really hard for me,” he said.

He said teachers were also a part of the problem. He told the court a teacher ordered him to remove a religious necklace, which had a Star of David on it, before entering the class and alleged another teacher made fun of another Jewish student’s name and told him in Hebrew, “your mother’s a whore/b—-” .

Read the article by Nicole Precel in The Age.