Pine Bush School District Settles Anti-Semitism Suit for $4.48 Million.

If someone has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability, he or she may be able to file a civil rights lawsuit. Such a lawsuit may entitle the victim of discrimination to recover money damages for any pain or suffering that the discrimination has caused. Types of discrimination include employment discrimination and housing discrimination, but they can also occur in other places, including schools.

Five current and former Jewish students sued the Pine Bush Central School District in upstate New York for discriminating against them on the basis of their religion. The lawsuit accused school officials of failing to take action to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism, saying that the officials were deliberately indifferent. Jewish students in this school district remember being bullied and intimidated because of their faith. This included having swastikas drawn on their desks and lockers, being called anti-Semitic names, being shoved and beaten, and being subjected to “white power” chants. Perhaps this behavior is less surprising, although no less reprehensible, considering that Pine Bush used to be the home of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in the 1970s. According to the New York Times, this alleged action caused the students to perform worse in school and suffer from depression.

The school district has settled with the students for $4.48 million. The students are expected to receive two-thirds of that amount and the lawyers will receive one-third. The settlement also calls for mandatory training for teachers and staff in how to recognize and deal with anti-Semitism. However, the settlement still is subject to approval by Judge Kenneth M. Karas. The case was scheduled to go to trial in the United States District Court in White Plains in two weeks.

The school district does not admit fault in the settlement. However, in a statement that was recently released, the school district stated that “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.”

If you or a loved one has been the victim of employment discrimination or any other type of discrimination, please call 617-787-3700 now to speak with one of our expert Massachusetts employment discrimination lawyers or email us at info@gilhoylaw.com.

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