Police investigate after girls pour bleach on student in Beersheba

The girls shared footage of the bullying on social media.

A GROUP of junior high school students are demanding the government fulfill its educational duty to them.  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A GROUP of junior high school students are demanding the government fulfill its educational duty to them.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Israel Police has opened an investigation after receiving a complaint from a girl who claimed to have been abused within the walls of a school in Beersheba.

In the investigation, it was suspected that three students had poured various substances onto the girl and then rubbed her head with a broom, with footage of the incident circulated over social media. 

In her testimony, the girl claimed that the substances poured on top of her included various types of detergents, including a bleach-like disinfectant. 

Two 13-year-old suspects were detained Thursday morning.

"This is a very serious incident in which a girl was humiliated in the eyes of her friends, all for the sake of humiliation and publicity on social media," said Inspector Yoni Dasklo, an officer from the Beersheba Police's Youth Department. "We will work to bring justice to those involved."

Lian and her mother Ilana spoke with 103FM's Guy Peleg and Nissim Mash'al and discussed the difficult event.

"At first they sprayed me with water, and then soap, and then window-cleaning spray," Lian explained, adding that "I didn't do anything to them – they just decided to do this to me."

One of the girls documented the incident and shared it on Instagram, she said.

Despite her requests and pleas to stop, "they did not listen. They saw I was crying but kept going."

ILANA SAID that her daughter called her at 12:30.

"She said, 'don't ask what they did to me. They poured soap and cleaning products on me and I'm not going to give them up. I'm going to the class coordinator,'" her mother said.

"She went to the coordinator and when I called I said I was coming to pick her up, and I didn't know how serious it was. I thought they squirted dish soap. When did I find out the whole story? When I got home and she showed me what they uploaded to their Instagram story.

"When I saw it, I had darkness in my eyes. I said poor girl, what she went through was more than just mental and physical abuse. As an adult, I would not want to go through what a 12-year-old girl had to endure," Ilana said.

"I would send [the school] videos, all kinds of posts and messages written to her. Every time, it is sent to everyone and they say they don't have the tools to deal with it – nothing can be done," she said.

"When I spoke to the coordinator I asked why no one did anything for so long. They said the principal had more important things to deal with," Lian's mother said.

"More important? What could be more important? Yesterday, she went to school and the girls came back, made a mess, threatened her and beat her.

"She called me again crying and said 'You told me to go to school, that everything would be fine and to see what happens.' And they accused her of wrongdoing."

Lian agreed and said she was afraid of going back to school.

"I went yesterday and one of the girls threatened me. If they had not held her back, she would have beaten me."

ILANA SAID a complaint was filed with the police. 

"We were not told the truth, they took testimony and said a case was being opened. What happens next, we don't know," she said.

"We don't think the police can do anything. We thought the school would remove the girls and that she would continue to study and get psychological help and counseling, that we would know how to deal with the situation."

The principal refused to comment on the case and referred them to the Education Ministry.

The ministry responded "This is a serious and difficult incident that has crossed every redline and violated every behavioral norm expected of students in an educational institution. In view of the seriousness of the matter, the abusive students were suspended from school, and their further studies at the school are conditional.

"The injured student is closely accompanied by a school counselor daily and receives a wide range of emotional and therapeutic support. The school staff is in continuous and consistent contact with the mother and are monitoring the development of the police investigation," the ministry said.

"The current incident of violence joins the sequence of extreme and frequent violent incidents occurring in the education system against the background of the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis," it said. "In light of this reality, the Education Ministry has launched a comprehensive program to prevent violence and it has allocated close to half a billion shekels for this purpose. As part of these resources, a number of in-depth programs will be implemented in the schools to make significant changes."

Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovich said that, "following the shocking incident at the school I learned about today, I had an urgent discussion this morning with the principals of the education directorate and talked with the principal, the student and her mother. We will work resolutely to eradicate this problem.

"Girls and boys must understand that they are responsible for their actions."

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton praised Lian and promised that the abusers will be severely punished.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.