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N.Y. State Probing Charges Fuentes Abetted Anti-semitism

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A spokesman for the State Human Rights Commission said that further closed hearings will be held in an effort to conciliate a dispute involving charges that Luis Fuentes, superintendent of Community School District One in Manhattan, had abetted anti-Semitic abuse in one of the district’s schools. The charges were made against Fuentes, who had been accused of anti-Semitism two years ago when he was named superintendent, and against Allen Boone, principal of Junior High School 22, by five assistant principals at the school.

Jean MacPherson, the State Human Rights regional director, has notified both sides that on the basis of closed hearings this spring, there was “probable cause” for a public hearing into the charges. The five assistant principals had charged that Fuentes refused to investigate and act on what they said were incidents of anti-Semitic abuse at a Community School Board meeting at meetings with the junior high school Parents Association, and in the school. They said the incidents had been occurring since July 19, 1973. The complainants are Leonard Lurie, Jack Levine, Arthur Kaufman, Philip Levitus and Paul Flaumenhaft.

Jack M. Sable, the State Human Rights Commissioner, said the conclusions of the regional director did not constitute a finding of guilt against Fuentes and Boone. The spokesman said conciliation efforts would be made to end the dispute by some form of agreement between Fuentes and Boone and the five complainants. If those failed, he said, full-scale public hearings would then be held on the charges.

A number of Jewish and other groups have charged that Fuentes made anti-Semitic statements and slurred other ethnic groups while serving earlier as a principal in the former Ocean Hill-Brownsville demonstration school district in Brooklyn. He was cleared of those charges last April by Vincent Broderick, a former New York City Police Commissioner who was named a hearing officer by the then New York City School Chancellor Harvey Scribner to examine the charges that Fuentes was anti-Semitic and unfit to serve as School District One Superintendent.

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