An antisemitic incident at an Ottawa high school has led to charges for two students

Sir Robert Borden High School, Nepean Ont. (Credit: Wikimapia)

Two students are facing criminal charges after an antisemitic incident at an Ottawa high school in December.

The students, who are not named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, have been charged with public incitement of hatred, mischief and criminal harassment, Ottawa Police Services said in a press release, issued Jan. 10.

On Dec. 1,  two Jewish students at Sir Robert Borden High School  were called into a room where they saw a large swastika displayed on the floor and a student made a Nazi salute.

 In an email to parents, principal Matt Gagnier said at the time, “this is a blatant act of hate and antisemitism, which is absolutely unacceptable.”

In a statement, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa said it was “grateful to the Ottawa Police Services Hate and Bias Crime Unit for their diligence and care in the handling of this upsetting and concerning case of antisemitism.

“Laying charges against the two Sir Robert Borden high school students sends a strong and unequivocal message that antisemitism will not be tolerated in our schools and in our city. We are cognizant that those charged are also minors—for this reason, we view this as an important opportunity to advocate for change and to teach everyone, not just those involved, the seriousness and the dangers of promoting hatred.”

The charges follow two years of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s “inaction and neglect of this festering hatred in their schools,” the Federation’s statement said.

 The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is scheduled to discuss hiring a Jewish equity coach at its meeting Jan. 17, a motion proposed by newly elected trustee Nili Kaplan-Myrth.