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Anti-semitism: Private school faces questions over 'gas chamber' comment by teacher

A London private school is facing uncomfortable questions in the media after the Daily Mail reported an incident in which a teacher told a Jewish student she would be 'sent to the gas chambers' for jumping the lunch queue.

The Daily Mail reported the incident, which took place at North London Collegiate School, a £6,000 per term independent school catering for children from four through to 18. Frances Mary Buss founded the school in 1850.

The incident is alleged to have taken place earlier this year, and involved a teacher reprimanding a 17-year-old Jewish student who had cut in at the queue for meals, by telling her that she could be 'sent to one of her gas chambers' for her actions.

The school has responded to reports in the press by saying it had been made aware of the remark, and had taken legal advice regarding its position.

The school added that 'appropriate action' had been taken against the teacher, although there was no further information on what action had in fact been taken.

The incident was overheard by several students and was subsequently reported to the Community Security Trust, an organisation that combats anti-semitism in the community.

Mark Gardner is the communications director at the Community Security Trust.

"This would be highly offensive in any circumstance, but to be directed at a pupil by a teacher is unheard of and makes it far worse. We are working with all parties to resolve the matter," he said.

The school has issued a statement regarding the matter, in which it stated its pride at being a multi-cultural school:

"North London Collegiate School is proud of its rich, multi-cultural history and celebrates equality and diversity within the school community. The school was recently made aware of an allegation of an offensive statement made by a member of staff. The school promptly commenced an investigation and... having sought specialist legal advice appropriate action was taken."