Headmaster of Brighton Secondary College responds to allegations of anti-Semitism at school

“Correct,” Rutland replied.

“Would you agree that in a speech about harmful language or the normalization of racism through language, it might be appropriate to use real examples of the language to make the point?”

Five former Brighton Secondary College students are suing the state over the school’s alleged failure to protect them from years of anti-Semitic discrimination and abuse.Credit:Joe Armao

“It’s possible, but it’s also not good to abuse it,” Rutland said.

She added that it was not entirely clear that Minack rejected racist language, nor entirely clear to the students concerned. “If the teaching (…) leads to an increase in anti-Semitism, which the school recognizes through the number of swastikas, then clearly there was a problem that needed to be addressed.”

Butt said more than 40 swastikas were drawn around the school between 2013 and 2020.

On Monday, Minack told the court that staff searched student desks for swastikas and erased them as they were found. However, there was no documented process for removing hate symbols from the school.

Brighton Secondary College alumni Matt Kaplan (left) and Liam Arnold-Levy accused the school of ignoring complaints of anti-Semitism

Brighton Secondary College alumni Matt Kaplan (left) and Liam Arnold-Levy accused the school of ignoring complaints of anti-SemitismCredit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Pressed by Butt to know if he could have done more to prevent the spread of the swastikas or if he was unable to do so, Minack said: “It is possible that we were unable; it is possible, yes”.

The court has previously heard that Minack gave a speech to departing 12th graders in which he referred to someone close to him, who had fought with the German army.


Rutland told the court that the ramifications of the Holocaust are still alive today.

“Somebody who has a German background, he has to struggle with that knowledge, and it’s definitely not easy to do,” she said.

Speculating, she said it could be that “it was a complex background coming…[and] there is a dilemma between his sense of his own family, whom he considers to be good people, and what actually happened. And it is very difficult for anyone, but at the same time it does not set a good example for students as an educator.

Asked by Young if that was a lot to assume, Rutland replied, “When you’re an academic, you can factor in some assumptions. But I really write more about his actual lyrics.

The trial, before Judge Debra Mortimer, continues.

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