A teacher at a top independent school in London allegedly told a Jewish student who cut in the lunch line that she would send her “to one of your gas chambers.”
The 17-year-old reported the incident, which occurred earlier this year at North London Collegiate School, where students often pay £6,000, or $10,000, per term.
“A teacher was passing by and she rushed up to my daughter and said, ‘Don’t do that or I’ll have to send you to the back of the queue or to one of your gas chambers,” the girl’s father, who did not wish to be identified, told the Daily Mail.
“It was very unpleasant, very uncalled-for and very unfortunate,” he said. “My daughter was shocked and upset. She didn’t say anything to the teacher at the time but all her friends expressed amazement. They kept saying, ‘Did she really say that?’”
The prestigious school, which educated actress Rachel Weisz and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, said it sought legal advice on the matter and took “appropriate action.” It did not identify the teacher or what measures were taken.
The comment was overheard by numerous students and was reported by another family to the Community Service Trust, a non-profit which combats anti-Semitism.
“This would be highly offensive in any circumstance, but to be directed at a pupil by a teacher is unheard of and makes it far worse,” said Mark Gardner, director of the Community Service Trust. “We are working with all parties to resolve the matter.”
“North London Collegiate School is proud of its rich, multi-cultural history and celebrates equality and diversity within the school community,” the school said in a statement. “The school was recently made aware of an allegation of an offensive statement made by a member of staff. The school promptly commenced an investigation. Having reached a determination and sought specialist legal advice, appropriate action was taken.”
The girl’s family says that’s not enough.
“The school doesn’t deserve to be in the middle of a race issue. It is normally a model of correctness in these things,” her father said. “But there should be an element of visibility so people see the teacher has been disciplined. My wife and I would also like the school to make a public statement that there has been an incident and [the remark] was totally unacceptable.”