Clifton College Upper School, Bristol, England.
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ARPINGSTONE)
Jewish community leaders have condemned one of Britain's top private schools after a teenager was force-fed ham pizza by a fellow student, who was subsequently given a short suspension.
The incident, in which the victim was said to have "suffered psychologically," took place at Bristol's Clifton College in December, reported the Bristol Post.
The £35,000-per-year (approximately $49,000) school, which says on its website that it has "supported a vibrant Jewish community" for over 150 years, strongly condemned the incident but stated that the pupil did not consider it to be antisemitic act. Jews are forbidden to eat pork products.
“In December 2017, a Jewish pupil was eating with his close-knit group of friends when his friends attempted to force him to eat a piece of pizza containing ham," said a school statement.
"While the pupil concerned felt that this was not an antisemitic act, the school considered the incident to be completely unacceptable, falling far short of the high standards we expect from our pupils.
"Following a thorough investigation of the incident by the school, proportionate and appropriate sanctions were put in place."
After a short suspension, the student returned to his studies. The Bristol Post
reported that he had previously been involved in another incident in which a pupil wore a Nazi costume and was later expelled from the school.
A senior member of Bristol's Jewish community, speaking anonymously, expressed his strong disapproval of the school's conduct following the incident.
"The fact it happened in the first place is awful but the way in which Clifton College has brushed it under the carpet is much worse," he said.
“There was a promise from the school that the student would be expelled but I don’t think that happened.
"It’s difficult to describe what abuse like this does to a child. Beyond the physical abuse is a deep psychological effect.
"For someone who is Jewish and never eaten pork this is a truly horrible thing to go through."
Clifton College has a long history of welcoming Jewish students, opening a special boarding house called Polack's House in 1878, which closed in 2005.
The school still maintains a synagogue, offers kosher food, Jewish studies courses and holds daily prayer services for Jewish students.