Pine Bush school district settles anti-Semitic lawsuit for $4.5 million


NEW YORK (JTA) – The Pine Bush Central School District in upstate New York has agreed to pay nearly $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging widespread anti-Semitic harassment.

The 2012 lawsuit by five former and current students was due to go to trial next month.

In the settlement, filed in court papers on Monday, according to The New York Times, district officials also agreed to make significant curriculum and training reforms.

The suit alleged that officials in the district, located about 90 miles north of Manhattan, long had failed to respond adequately to complaints by the students and their families of pervasive anti-Semitic bullying and harassment.

The students said they were forced to endure anti-Semitic epithets and jokes about the Holocaust, including Nazi salutes, and to retrieve coins from dumpsters. They also said they were subject to physical violence.

School officials responded with “deliberate indifference,” according to the lawsuit.

Until now, Pine Bush officials had fought the suit and argued that they had responded appropriately to the incidents, which took place at the Pine Bush Elementary School, Crispell Middle School and Pine Bush High School.

The federal judge overseeing the case will retain jurisdiction for three years to enforce the agreement, the Times reported.

The Pine Bush Central School District serves students in New York’s Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties. Among the villages included in the district is Bloomingburg, where Hasidic newcomers have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that the local elections board is attempting to disenfranchise them.

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