Antisemitism in Toronto schools, Part 1: Why are we still seeing Nazi symbols in classrooms?

Charles H. Best Junior Middle School, where two antisemitic incidents took place in early 2022. (Google Maps screenshot)

Recently, two separate Toronto-area middle schools have witnessed three antisemitic incidents. At Charles H. Best Junior Middle School, kids targeted a Jewish student with Nazi salutes and, separately, with a swastika made out of classroom blocks.

Meanwhile, at Ledbury Park Elementary and Middle School, a teacher has been removed for comparing vaccine passports to yellow stars that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

Nearly identical letters were sent to parents at both schools this week outlining what had happened, expressing regret and promising to bring in Holocaust educators to teach about antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

Officials say the timing of these incidents is not surprising, as these symbols have been widely shared in the news and on social media—particularly now, with protests happening across Canada against vaccine mandates. Board spokesperson Shari Schwartz-Maltz and Michael Levitt, president of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, join The CJN Daily to discuss what the board’s next steps are, after seeing a clear spike in antisemitism since the start of the school year.

Listen and subscribe above to catch part 2 of this series tomorrow.

What we talked about:

  • Listen to The CJN Daily episode, “After the Alexandra Lulka fiasco, what’s next for Toronto’s school board?” at
  • Read the 2021 annual report by the Toronto District School Board’s director at


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network; find more great Jewish podcasts at