FSWC Offers Education to Ottawa School After Antisemitic Incident, Calls on School Board to Further Address Antisemitism Problem

December 14, 2022

News Release

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Toronto (December 14, 2022)
– Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) has reached out and offered its educational programs to an Ottawa school after an antisemitic incident involving students sparked a police investigation.

According to reports, two students at Sir Robert Borden High School were called into a room, where they discovered a swastika on the floor. Another student then performed the Nazi salute. Ottawa police and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) are investigating the incident.

In addition to reaching out to the school, FSWC is calling on the OCDSB to address issues related to antisemitism at the school board.

Earlier this year, the OCDSB suddenly and unexpectedly cancelled a presentation by Canada's Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, the Hon. Irwin Cotler, due to concerns over his support for the widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

In a letter sent to OCDSB Director of Education Camille Williams-Taylor and trustees today, FSWC called on the school board to establish a full-time antisemitism affairs officer to both proactively arrange education and engagement and address incidents immediately and fulsomely when they arise, as well as to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

“These repeated incidents must serve as a wake-up call to educators in Ottawa and society as a whole,” said Dan Panneton, FSWC's Director of Allyship. “OCDSB students and staff deserve to feel safe and supported by their school board when it comes to addressing and combatting the surging Jew-hatred we’re seeing today. The Jewish Federation of Ottawa, Jewish educators and Jewish community members have been working directly with the OCDSB to develop strategies for dealing with the rising tide of antisemitism. We hope that with this help and guidance, the OCDSB will make real and meaningful progress.”