MORIAH College principal Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler has told The AJN that incidents last week in which teenagers brought what seemed to be “an illicit substance” into its remote lessons “will not interfere with the focus on our core business of running a school”.
In a letter to parents last Friday, Moriah said, “Some students in our high school invited non-Moriah participants into several of our online lessons,” adding, “Some of these non-Moriah participants engaged in smoking what appears to be an illicit substance and used offensive language.”
However, The AJN understands the incidents involve a current year 12 student, who could be seen crushing a white powder – reportedly flour – with a bank card. In another incident, The AJN can reveal that a participant in a Zoom lesson changed their name to “Hitler”, although it is unclear whether the participant is a current student of the college.
A further incident shows a boy, who The AJN understands is a former Moriah student who was expelled, smoking a bong in full view of the teacher and students.
The incidents were videoed by students and shared widely around the community, and made headlines in the mainstream media.
Speaking to The AJN, Rabbi Smukler stressed, “While this incident will be managed in accordance with our college policies, it will not interfere with the focus on our core business of running a school, supporting the learning, engagement, and wellbeing of the Moriah family.”
He added, “Parents, staff, and students appreciate the tremendous work that we are doing to ensure that Moriah B’Yachad Online is a superb remote learning experience. They have expressed their outrage at the disrespect of a few and are completely supportive of the school.”
In its letter to parents, the college said it was “treating these incidents as a serious breach of our values, codes of conduct and policies, expectations and trust”.
“These actions have humiliated numerous staff members and students, have brought the college into disrepute, and reflect poorly on all of us,” Moriah said.
“We have changed the system to restrict access to our platforms … We warn anyone who is involved in these activities that we treat violations of these rights, and of our codes of conduct and policies very seriously.”