Canadian high school student says she was assaulted for being Jewish: report

Tsurkan was injured in the altercation and suffered two black eyes,and several lacerations and bruises.

An Israeli-Canadian high school student says she was assaulted at her high school because of her religion.

Shaked Tsurkan told Canadian Jewish News that the only reason for the attack against her was because she is Jewish.

Tsurkan said she was the victim of an attack while attending Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The alleged assault happened while the students were on their lunch hour, in a nearby parking lot. 

Video of the incident has circulated on social media. It shows a female approaching the Jewish student from behind, throwing her to the ground and then proceeding to strike Tsurkan repeatedly in front of several people who watch the scene without interfering. After about a minute of pushing and shoving, an adult appears and stops the violence. 

Tsurkan was injured in the altercation and suffered two black eyes and several lacerations and bruises.

Although the Jewish student says her attacker received a five-day suspension from school, Tsurkan noted that school authorities advised her to use caution when the other student returned to school; to remain in the building during school hours and to not return home alone.

“I want the school to know (what happened is) not OK,” she said. “(The school) is still saying it’s my fault that I went outside.”

“They’re blaming me about what happened,” she said.

Tsurkan has only lived in Canada since November 2023 when her family chose Fredericton as their new home after moving from Israel after the Hamas terrorist attack there.

Tsurkan reported that the Apr. 30 2024 incident occurred after she endured two months of hostility from her alleged attacker. Tsurkan said she wanted to avoid any sort of confrontation with the other student but found it impossible to avoid contact with her. 

The Jewish student also said she and her boyfriend narrowly escaped being hit by a car that veered towards them. They had to “jump to the side” to avoid a collision.

“We are aware of an act of violence that occurred among a small number of students from Leo Hayes High School,” Anglophone School District West spokesperson Paul MacIntosh said in a statement to the National Post. He said the school administration took the incident very seriously and responded in an appropriate manner, which included calling on the local police force for support.

The Fredericton Police Force is “currently conducting an active investigation into the matter,” according to the Post.

Tsurkan’s father has offered his support to authorities by examining the parking lot for any evidence. 

“I’m not looking for punishment. I’m not looking for to be famous … to be interviewed or on TV,” Tsurkan said in an interview with the Canadian Jewish News Daily podcast. “I want a solution, a practical solution so my girl and other students can study in a safe environment.”
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