Toronto (August 12, 2020) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is offering its educational programs after learning from Edmonton Police Service (EPS) that a student was responsible for setting up an Instagram account that promoted white supremacy in what has been deemed a case of bullying.
According to its statement, EPS identified the owner of the account "nazisofyeg" - which claimed to be the "Nazi Page of Edmonton" and promoted the murder of different minority groups - following a lengthy investigation by the hate crime unit and school resource officer, who determined the case "wasn't about racism, but about bullying" and gave the student the opportunity to make amends rather than being charged. The account, which has been shut down, reportedly targeted a local student and their family, publicly posting their home address and resulting in the family experiencing harassment by members of the public who assumed they were responsible for the account.
FSWC has reached out to the EPS school resource officer to discuss what, if any, disciplinary action was taken and to offer the student and their school educational programs that focus on teaching young people about the Holocaust and human rights and inspiring them to stand up against hate, intolerance and bullying. FSWC provides educational opportunities to help individuals charged or demonstrating hateful attitudes and behaviours re-frame their thinking and learn about the communities they are targeting, both from a historical and contemporary context.
"There is no room for such messages of hate and bullying in our communities. We thank the EPS hate crime unit and school resource officer for investigating as well as identifying and working with the student responsible for the page. It's important that the right actions are taken to ensure the student understands their wrongdoing, learns from it and does not commit similar hateful acts in the future," said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, Director of FSWC's Campaign Against Antisemitism. "Education and helping young people understand the effects of hate are key to deterring them from committing acts of hate, inspiring them to instead make positive contributions to their communities."