Anti-Semitism claims resurface in Pine Bush School DistrictPosted: Updated:
The Pine Bush School District is being accused of persistent anti-Semitism.
The alleged harassment has resurfaced nearly four years after the district agreed to pay about $4.5 million to settle anti-Semitism claims.
The uproar comes as survey results citing anti-Semitic conduct were made public as part of a settlement in a 2015 discrimination case.
“There's still hundreds of students who are witnessing anti-Semitic conduct in the form of so-called Holocaust jokes, Hitler salutes, white power chants, swastikas,” says attorney Ilaan Maazel.
Gov. Cuomo has since caught wind of the claims, singling out Pine Bush schools, while calling for the expansion of human rights protections for public school students.
The school's superintendent says they have taken a number of steps to combat discrimination, which is all outlined in a comprehensive report.
“It angers me!” says Superintendent Tim Mains, regarding Cuomo’s comments. “It annoys me that the leader of the state would not give us the courtesy of investigating a little deeper.”
He went on to say that survey results within the comprehensive report show improvement overall.
“If Gov. Cuomo were being fair, he would have taken the time to read the comprehensive report that describes all the many different things that we’ve done [to combat the issue,]” says Mains. “And if he had done that, instead of condemning us, he’d be complimenting us.”
Maazel says one particular question, though poorly written, did alarm him. 60 percent of the students answered that they had witnessed anti-Semitic conduct last school year.
"The work that we’re doing is important work and its work that we’ll always have to do,” he says. “We’ll never be done with this.”