ADL Objects to ‘discriminatory’ Personnel Policy of Nyc School District 1

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith will communicate to the New York State Division of Human Rights this week its objections to personnel procedures recently adopted by New York City School District 1 which the ADL regards as discriminatory, Robert C. Kohler. NY Regional Director of the ADL, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today. The approach to the Human Rights Division follows by a week the ADL’s call to Chancellor Harvey Scribner of the NY City Board of Education to invalidate procedures that would make ethnic origin a basis for the recruitment and appointment of teachers and other personnel in School District 1.

The ADL objected specifically to item 14 of the school district’s new rules which states that “the community superintendent shall take steps to recruit and appoint teachers representing the ethnic groups of the city…and shall be responsible for developing an ethnic distribution among the staff that is more nearly representative of the student population in the district.” The rule was adopted at a District 1 board meeting June 8.

In a telegram to Dr. Scribner last week. Milton A. Seymour, chairman of the ADL’s New York Board, called the rule “illegal and unconstitutional” and said it would “necessarily result in racial and ethnic discrimination against those who. although fully qualified, do not belong to a racial or ethnic group which is ‘under-represented.’” Seymour described item 14 as “a clear negation of the merit system.”

Dr. Scribner subsequently instructed School District 1 to clear its newly adopted rules with the State Division of Human Rights and to withhold implementation “until approval in writing by the State Division of Human Rights is granted.”

Kohler told the JTA that the ADL considered Scribner’s instructions to be a “considered response” to “obvious disregard of merit for the purpose of implementing a policy which is clearly discriminatory.”

The Free Sons of Israel, a rational Jewish fraternal society, meeting in S. Fallsburg, NY, adopted a resolution denouncing the “erosion of the civil service merit system” by federal, state and city governments. The resolution specifically attacked Chancellor Scribner for “failure to oppose local boards’ attempts to politicize education and create an atmosphere–permeated by anti-Semitism–in a drive to oust highly qualified teachers and principals.”

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