By Adam Carey
October 24, 2019 — 3.53pm
A Victorian schoolboy has been charged with stalking, harassing and threatening to kill a bullied Jewish schoolboy and the boy’s mother.
The 16-year-old is accused of threatening a 12-year-old Jewish boy who was photographed kissing another boy’s shoe in a widely reported anti-Semitic bullying episode in Melbourne’s south-east.
The teenager will face the Childrens Court next month.
The threats followed widespread reporting this month of how the year 7 boy at Cheltenham Secondary College was subjected to months of racist bullying by classmates, including slurs about his Jewish identity.
The bullying involved humiliating the boy in a public park by making him kiss another boy’s shoe – or face being bashed by other year 7 boys – and a physical assault on school grounds that led to the assailant’s suspension.
The 16-year old high school student who has been charged is alleged to have become enraged by the reports, which garnered international attention, and launched a series of vile and threatening messages at the bullied boy and his mother.
Victoria Police confirmed the boy was arrested this month following complaints from the mother.
“Police have charged a 16-year-old Moorabbin boy with make threats to kill, use telecommunications device to harass and stalking in relation to alleged incidents involving a 49-year-old woman and 12-year-old boy between October 7 and 9 ,” a police spokesperson said.
It is alleged the boy sent a string of violent and sexually explicit messages, including urging the younger boy to take his own life.
The anti-Semitic bullying in Cheltenham was one of two cases in Melbourne schools this year that have sparked Education Minister James Merlino to launch an inquiry.
The other incident involved a prep boy at Hawthorn West Primary School who was also alleged to have been on the receiving end of months of anti-Semitic verbal insults from other young children at his school.
The Education Department is reviewing the way both schools handled the incidents. The two bullied boys have each since left those schools.
The head of the Anti-Defamation Commission, Dvir Abramovich, has acted as an advocate for both families.
He said it was heartbreaking to see anti-Semitic bullying of a schoolboy snowball into attacks on his mother, and that there were too many instances of Jewish students suffering cruel taunts and physical violence and harassment, even in the home.
He called on schools to do more to confront the issue.
“There are too many instances of educators dismissing or averting their eyes when confronted with incidents of anti-Semitic bullying, and we would urge the goverment to mandate schools to immediately report such episodes,” Dr Abramovich said.
Source: The Age