Navigate to News section

Bullied Jewish Students To Receive $4.5 Million Settlement From N.Y. School District

Pine Bush School District kids reportedly faced years of anti-Semitic abuses

Jas Chana
July 10, 2015
The Pine Bush Central School District officesWikipedia
The Pine Bush Central School District officesWikipedia

In 2012, five Jewish students filed a civil right lawsuit against the Pine Bush Central School District in upstate New York, which stood accused of “failing for years to take action to protect the Jewish students from anti-Semitic bullying, slurs and other intimidation,” reported the New York Times. On Thursday, the students reportedly settled with the school district for $4.5 million.

The Times, which has been covering this story for years (including this long article from 2013) have listed a number anti-Semitic abuses these students were exposed to, such as “finding swastikas drawn on walls, desks, lockers and other school property; of being subjected to epithets and nicknames; and of being shoved and beaten… (and) terrifying bus rides with classmates leading “white power” chants and making Nazi salutes.”

“One girl,” the Times reported on July 9, “had money shoved into her mouth.”

At the hearing one of the bullied students, a 17-year-old whose name has not been released, testified amid sobs. She reportedly claimed she became suicidal because of the relentless anti-semitic bullying. “I will never be able to get those years of my childhood back,” she said, reported the Times.

The number of students accused in the 3,500-page deposition was at least 35, and the instances of bullying date back to when some of the students who testified were still in Elementary School and Middle School in Pine Bush, a community that has a history of racism, Ku Klux Klan activity.

The school district issued a statement on the Pine Bush website last month, in response to the court case. It read:

The district will never condone anti-Semitic slurs or graffiti, Holocaust ‘jokes’ or physical violence. No family should have to experience the hurt and pain that bullying and name-calling can cause children to endure because of their religious, national or cultural identity.

On top of the money, the settlement decrees that Pine Bush must now train faculty and staff to recognize instances of anti-Semitism, and integrate anti-bullying education.

Jas Chana is a former intern at Tablet.

Become a Member of Tablet

Get access to exclusive conversations, our custom app, and special perks from our favorite Jewish artists, creators, and businesses. You’ll not only join our community of editors, writers, and friends—you’ll be helping us rebuild this broken world.