A federal court in Melbourne ordered the Australian state of Victoria to pay compensation and apologize to five Jewish students who faced bullying and discrimination at the state school.
The five students, Joel and Matt Kaplan, Liam Arnold-Levy, Guy Cohen, and Zack Snelling, sued the state, the school, two teachers, and the principal, Richard Minack.
The court ordered the state to apologize on behalf of the school and its staff for the racial discrimination.
Victoria will pay the five students more than AUD $425,000 combined and issue an apology the form of which will be decided by the students.
Supporters of the students in the courtroom broke out into Hatikvah after the judgment was rendered, just a few days before Rosh Hashanah.
Antisemitism from top to bottom
Discrimination and antisemitism at Brighton Secondary College in the South Melbourne suburbs came from the top as Mr. Minack gave offensive speeches at the school assemblies. One of the topics discussed was Mr. Minack's own father, who the principal claimed was a Nazi but also a "good man."
The school subsequently saw an increase in antisemitic incidents.
Mr. Minack failed to punish other students for their antisemitic behavior, such as drawing swastikas, according to the 455-page judgment.
The largest portion of compensation was ordered to be paid to Snelling who suffered the worst of the bullying which included physical attacks. "I felt that I was less than other people just because I was Jewish," he said describing the attacks.
Another teacher was targeted in the lawsuit for repeatedly greeting a student in Hebrew after the student and his family had asked the teacher to stop.
"This decision will stand as a warning to any students who engage in antisemitic bullying and to parents, teachers, and Education Departments across Australia who fail to act responsibly to curb and prevent such behavior. They will be held to account for their actions,” said Jillian Segal, president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry.