A teenage boy has been charged by Australian police with making violent threats in text messages against a Jewish schoolboy who was previously forced by other pupils to kneel and kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate, and also against the bullied boy’s mother, The Age reported Thursday.
Police said they had charged a 16-year-old with “making threats to kill” and using a telecommunications device “to harass and stalking in relation to alleged incidents involving a 49-year-old woman and 12-year-old boy between October 7 and 9.”
The messages were sent earlier this month after a photo of the Jewish pupil being forced to kneel and kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate were splashed across the front pages of newspapers in Australia and around the world.
Victoria Police said the teen was arrested after the mother filed complaints. He will face a Children’s Court in November.
The suspect allegedly became angry at the media attention the bullying incident received and so began sending the boy and his mother messages that were violent and sexually explicit, the Age reported.
The messages told the 12-year-old boy that he would be slaughtered and asked if he wanted to “talk about suicide,” according a Daily Mail report earlier this month.
Reports of the initial bullying said a group of older students threatened the boy with violence if he did not comply and kiss his classmate’s shoes. It did not take place on the Jewish pupil’s school campus at Cheltenham Secondary College in suburban Melbourne.
The bullying incident was one of two reports of anti-Semitic bullying at schools in Australia that recently received widespread media coverage and condemnation.
A second incident took place at the Hawthorn West Primary School in Melbourne, where a 5-year-old Jewish student was called a number of anti-Semitic insults, including a “Jewish cockroach,” according to The Australian Jewish News.
Both Jewish boys have left their schools.
JTA contributed to this report.