The efforts of three Jewish families embroiled in a lawsuit against Pine Bush Central School District in Pine Bush, N.Y., over claims of anti-Semitism have been bolstered by the U.S. attorney’s office, which filed a memorandum in federal court supporting their complaint.
The families have been trying to prove that school officials did little to stop repeated anti-Semitic attacks against their children. While the district has denied those claims, the U.S. attorney’s office for the southern district of New York concluded that the evidence in the case could lead a jury to back the families’ claims, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
In a “statement of interest,” the government declared that evidence in the case “is sufficient for a jury to find that the district failed to respond to pervasive anti-Semitic harassment in its school,” according to The New York Times.
The document, filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, concluded that Pine Bush Central School District possibly ignored signs that more intensive action was needed to halt anti-Semitic harassment at the hands of the kids’ peers.
Additionally, faculty and the school board were purportedly not made aware of how dire the issue had become — and each school in the district reportedly wasn’t adequately informed, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Those allegations are important because the families involved claim that the district ignored rabid harassment and anti-Semitic antics at the hands of their children’s peers. School officials have said that action was taken and that anti-Jewish sentiment isn’t widespread in its schools.
A letter sent to teachers, staff and administrators earlier this month by board of education president Lloyd Greer addressed the impact the controversy has had on the community.
“We, the Board of Education, understand that over the past couple of months there has been a lot of undue stress put on the entire district … and the community. It has been very tough for all of us to sit back and listen as the media negatively portrayed the entire district,” a portion of the leader read. “This negative media and political attention, however, does not reflect that Pine Bush Schools is a strong community with great people doing great things for kids.”
The families, however, are looking to prove that school officials didn’t do their due diligence and that there is in fact an unfriendly environment.
“This school district should take a hard look in the mirror, face the problem, and fix it once and for all,” Ilann Maazel, an attorney representing the families, told the Times.
Bharara’s office had already joined other state and federal efforts to launch a civil rights investigation. While the district has sought a summary judgement, the U.S. attorney’s office recommended it be denied.
At TheBlaze previously reported, the purported acts taken against these students included both harassment and physical violence.
One female student allegedly had a Nazi symbol drawn on her face by peers; other students said symbols of hate were placed on desks, textbooks, computer screens and even on a slide at the playground. There were also reportedly physical beatings that resulted.
Read more about the case here.
(H/T: Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
Featured image via Pine Bush Central School District website