The suit was filed on behalf of five current and former students who say they were deeply traumatized, and in some cases physically harmed, by years of anti-Jewish bullying.
The allegations in the lawsuit are indeed shocking and awful. From the complaint:
Plaintiffs have been subjected to anti-Semitic slurs from other students, including “dirty, disgusting Jew,” “stupid Jew,” “Christ killer,” “Jesus hater,” “Kike,” “Ashes,” and “Crispy” — the latter two slurs being references to burning Jews during the Holocaust.
In addition to vicious name-calling, Plaintiffs were subjected to rampant anti-Semitic graffiti, images, and insults. For instance, students drew or engraved swastikas on books, notebooks, bathroom walls, hallway walls, desks, bleachers and playground equipment, sometimes with names of Plaintiffs written inside.
The swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti throughout the schools often remained for weeks or months, despite repeated complaints by Plaintiffs and/or their parents to have the graffiti removed. Students also drew and made images of Hasidic Jews from pipe cleaners, at which they tossed pennies.
Others made swastikas from pipe cleaners. Students performed “Hitler salutes,” discussed celebrating Hitler’s birthday, and made anti-Semitic “jokes” about the Holocaust, including the following: “What is the difference between a Jew and a pizza? One doesn’t scream as it gets put in the oven.”
It’s difficult to imagine such awful anti-Semitism in this day and age, and only 81 miles from New York City. The Times story does point out that there’s a history of racism in the town, which now just has fewer than 2,000 residents. In the 1970s, there was Ku Klux Klan activity in Pine Bush, and a KKK leader was even a member of the school board there.
There’s not really evidence of Klan activity these days. But the retired superintendent of Pine Bush Schools, Phil Steinberg, said in a sworn deposition that he was told before going there that the town “was not not a Jewish area,” according to The Times.
The Pine Bush School district denies that there were swastikas “everywhere,” the Times reported. The district also says it vigilantly responded to reports of anti-Semitic bullying.
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