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Florida students suspended over ‘Kick a Jew Day’

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Incident follows ‘Kick a Ginger Day’ controversies

Ten students at a Naples, Florida, middle school have been given one-day, in-school suspensions for participating in “Kick a Jew Day,” in which Jewish students were targeted for assault, according to news reports in the local media.

Parents and students at North Naples Middle School told NBC channel 2 in Naples that many students — all of them Jewish — were targeted in the attacks, which took place last week.

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The station obtained a letter from one parent who said his daughter was a target of the attacks.

“Kids pretender to kick her, and later at lunch, they actually kicked her,” the letter stated. “Apparently, many kids, all Jewish, were kicked. I was furious and attempted to call the parents of the girl who initiated this hatred.”

School officials reacted immediately to complaints from students, but some in the Jewish community say the punishment for the ten students didn’t go far enough.

“You are talking about an incident that has anti-Jewish bias, if not anti-Semitism,” Jewish Community Online quoted David Barkey of the Florida Anti-Defamation League. “You have Jewish students being singled out, harassed and assaulted. … If the allegations are true, it is possible these students violated Florida’s new anti-bullying law. And, if students were physically assaulted, it could rise to the level of criminal conduct.”

But Rabbi James Perman of Temple Shalom in North Naples said it “seems that the school system has taken appropriate measures,” though he noted that he hadn’t “seen anything like it in my 17 years in Naples.”

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KICK A GINGER DAY

The “Kick a Jew Day” incident seems to follow in the footsteps of “Kick a Ginger Day,” which started as a Facebook group inspired by an episode of South Park, and resulted in suspensions in school districts around the world after red-headed students were assaulted.

The Fox affiliate in Los Angeles reported Thursday that police are questioning 25 students at a Calabasas, California, middle school after seven red-haired students were allegedly assaulted.

Two dozen students at an elementary school near Toronto, Ontario, were suspended last week after taking part in “Ginger Day,” the Toronto Star reports.

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Metro.co.uk reports that the first “Kick a Ginger Day” was organized for Nov. 20 of last year by a 14-year-old Canadian girl. The girl has reportedly apologized and renamed her Facebook group “Universal Hug A Ginger Day.”

The following video was broadcast on NBC Channel 2 news in Naples, Florida, November 23, 2009.

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