(JTA) — A high school in western France suspended three pupils for anti-Semitic bullying, and similar incidents forced a Jewish girl to leave her school in the country’s South.
The suspension at the Louis-Armand high school in Poitiers, a city located 155 miles north of the city of Bordeaux, was for eight days, according to a report Wednesday in the online edition of the regional Ouest-France daily.
The alleged victim of the three youths spoke out last week after months of being bullied, according to the report, which also said the three are due to appear before a juvenile court in April.
The bullying reportedly began in October when the alleged victim confronted one of the suspended youths about his pencil case, which was emblazoned with the words: “Jew = cremated.” The owner called the alleged victim a Jew and soon the student became the butt of repeated jokes and text messages about Jews and the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.
The report did not say whether the alleged victim, who was not named, was in fact Jewish.
Bernard Soulignac, a local education board inspector, said the eight-day suspension constituted the strictest punishment school can give. “I don’t consider it joking around. It’s a joke at the expense of six million dead,” he told the AFP news agency.
Separately, in the city of Avignon north of Marseille, a Jewish girl was forced to leave the Aubanel high school because of persistent anti-Semitic bullying in person, online and by phone, the online edition of the La Provence daily reported Wednesday.
The girl said the bullying began after she told another girl she was Jewish. That girl rallied others against her.
School faculty told the girl’s parents that off-campus bullying was not their jurisdiction, the girl’s mother, identified only as Lea, told the daily.
The parents filed a police complaint. Faculty and security officers talked to the girls’ classmates to no avail, so she switched to another class last month.
The bullying and threats persisted, leading the parents to pull their daughter of school altogether. She currently remains at home until she can find an alternative school.