New York, NY, November 8, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed shock and outrage over allegations raised in a lawsuit against the Pine Bush Central School District in upstate New York.
The allegations contained in a lawsuit, filed in late 2012 by a national public interest law firm, Public Justice, assert that several Jewish students in the district suffered egregious anti-Semitic discrimination, harassment and bullying at the hands of a number of other students and were unable to get school officials to take appropriate action to protect them.
Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director, issued the following statement:
We are outraged by the claims raised in this lawsuit. The accusations include a lexicon of anti-Semitic barbs and attacks – from swastikas to Holocaust jokes to throwing pennies at Jewish students to physical threats and beatings. Any one of these incidents alone would be troubling, but together they are shocking.
We are pleased that the plaintiffs are utilizing important tools to address these egregious acts, particularly Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. ADL and other Jewish groups had successfully persuaded the U.S. Department of Education to interpret that statute to cover harassment and bullying of Jewish students.
Recent quotes from town residents and a former school official reflect a community deeply infected with anti-Semitism. But surrendering to “inbred prejudice” is unacceptable. The virus of anti-Semitism can be treated, and must be treated effectively so that it is not allowed to fester.
Rather than exploiting stereotypes of Jews and money, suggesting that the lawsuit is a “money grab,” the town must immediately implement mandatory, recurring training throughout the school district. It is essential to change the climate of the Pine Bush School District through education, and we stand ready to assist.
We welcome the strong statement by New York Governor Cuomo directing the State Police and the Division of Human Rights to investigate the serious allegations of anti-Semitic harassment, physical attacks, and intimidation at the Pine Bush Central School District. We agree with Governor Cuomo that parents across the state have the right to know that their children can safely attend schools without fear of such reprehensible behavior.