Italian high-schoolers praised for deflecting anti-Semitic slur

ROME (JTA) – Some high school students in Rome earned praise for defending a Jewish classmate from an allegedly anti-Semitic slur by a teacher.

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Riccardo Pacifici, president of the Rome Jewish community, on Sunday called the students “true heroes.” Staff members at the city’s Jewish museum also lauded the students during their visit to the museum late last week.

The teacher from Caravillani High School had reprimanded a female student in October for not being attentive in class by telling her, “Had you been in Auschwitz , you would have been more careful,” Italian media reported. The student was returning to class after going to the bathroom because she was not feeling well.

Several of her classmates, according to the reports, defended her and accused the teacher of being racist.

“I’m not an anti-Semite,” the teacher later told the Italian media, “but schools in Italy have no discipline anymore.” She later told the school’s principal that she had used Auschwitz “to indicate a place where order rules.”

The teacher eventually took a leave of absence.


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