A schoolboy from a prestigious Oxfordshire boarding school has been expelled after allegedly sending an antisemitic image to a Jewish student from the same school.
The image, sent through Snapchat, was said to have depicted three people dressed as Nazis soldiers. The fifteen-year-old also allegedly created a video on Tik Tok, another social media app, in which he was said to have joked about raping a woman from a different Tik Tok video.
The Headmaster of Abingdon School, Michael Windsor, described the videos as “grossly racist and sexist”. He added, “These incidents do not just contravene our Behaviour, Rewards and Sanctions Policy but they go completely against the ethos and culture of the school based on courtesy, kindness and respect.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism welcomed the school demonstrating that it took antisemitism seriously. But a spokesperson was disappointed the boy’s parents dismissed the incident as “just jokes”.
Regarding the stance by the school, they noted, it had shown that it is not treating the matter as a joke at all.
“Abingdon should be applauded for its decision, showing its commitment to the welfare of its Jewish pupils,” they said.
The schoolboy issued a response regretting his “stupid” actions.
“I deeply regret my actions and I understand that people could get offended by them very easily but I had no intention of offending or hurting someone’s feelings,” he said. “In the small amount of time I have had to think about my disgraceful actions, I can certainly confirm that not a single thing I said was intended with harm or to offend anyone. I understand now that it would and I regret posting those things, it was a lack of judgment before when posting, and I did not think about all the people that would see my profile. I am deeply sorry and I promise that this will not happen again.”
The boy’s parents defended their son, arguing social media is not real life so the punishment should not be severe.
CAA has called for tougher regulations for many years on social media. They backed a petition for The #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate due to social media companies’ failure to remove hatred.
Over 3,000 people supported the petition for the Government to bring an Online Harms Bill before Parliament last year and make it law by July 2021.