"In 2001 Miriam started teaching at a school largely populated by children of refugees, mainly from Djibouti and Eritrea, countries where there are no Jews but where hatred of Jews is deeply entrenched in the culture.
During the academic year of 2002-2003 Miriam started to encounter anti-Semitic taunts from students, such as "Does someone see a Jew here, someone smell a Jew? It stinks here." When she reported this and similar insults to the principal, the principal did not follow up. Indeed, the principal seemed more concerned about the students' sensibilities than hers.
The principal instructed teachers not to offend their Muslim students; they were not to look students in the eye, they were not to gesture with the forefinger to bid them approach and they were not to interfere with male students who were physically aggressive to male teachers.
During the invasion of Iraq, moments of silence were held in the classroom. Cultural presentations involved only Muslim culture and no Canadian content. Students were allowed to leave assembly during the playing of the national anthem.
The crisis of this story occurred when Miriam admonished a student for wearing a Walkman in class. The student screamed at her: "I don't have to listen to you; you are not a person, you are nothing, you do not exist as a person." When Miriam demanded he accompany her to the principal's office, the student followed her down the hall yelling, "Don't speak to me, don't look at me, you are not human, you are a Jew."
Although the student was ultimately suspended for 10 days, his parents expressed puzzlement about the punishment since, they patiently explained, the teacher was after all Jewish. They complained about the severity of the punishment to the school board.""[W]here hatred of Jews is deeply entrenched in the culture."
I wonder if Canada is heading this way? People averting their gaze, moving away, requesting transfer, rather than stay and educate and break down this medieval menace? Again, silence and passive acceptance in the face of overt aggressive hatred? What can possibly be the reason for this silence, for the actions taken by this particular principal in appeasing the entrenched prejudices in his/her students' minds? And how come people fear for their safety if they sue for justice? What is going on in this Canada?