US/World News

Belgian Jewish student ‘gassed’ with deodorant in showers

(JTA) — Belgian elementary school students are accused of antisemitic bullying of a Jewish classmate, whom they allegedly sprayed with deodorant while he was showering at school to simulate Nazi gas chambers. The three students told their Jewish classmate they were “gassing” him during the incident, according to his mother. The Jewish student was subjected to antisemitic abuse over the past two years at his elementary school in the Brussels suburb of Braine-le-Chateau, according to a statement June 17 by the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism. All the involved students are now 12 years old.

The mother of the alleged victim filed a police complaint last week over the bullying. The alleged incident in the showers happened early last year. The three students pressed the deodorant canisters’ nozzles to the boy’s body, his mother said, causing burns and skin irritations on his back. She said it was one of dozens of incidents in which her son was subjected to violence, antisemitic jokes and intimidation.

The student complained to faculty but his mother said the teacher in charge ignored the complaints, even after her son asked for and got permission to stay indoors during recess to avoid harassment. The principal was reportedly was surprised by the allegations, saying the student in question did not appear to be unhappy, his behavior had not changed over the past two years and he had maintained excellent scholastic performance. The principal said the teacher handling the mother’s complaint did not relay the antisemitic character of the harassment to her. The case is one of several recent antisemitic incidents in Belgium.

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