On March 28th, 2012, five former and current Jewish students filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Southern District of New York under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the Pine Bush School District. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest counsel, asked the court for declarative ...
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On March 28th, 2012, five former and current Jewish students filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Southern District of New York under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the Pine Bush School District. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest counsel, asked the court for declarative judgment, injunctive relief and damages, claiming that the school district had responded with deliberate indifference to the rampant anti-Semitic discrimination and harassment directed at the plaintiffs.
Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the students had been harassed from elementary school to high school, and had been physically and psychologically injured. These included anti-Semitic slurs, anti-Semitic graffiti, Hitler salutes and celebrations, direct threats of harm, and physical attacks. The plaintiffs claimed that the school district has been made repeatedly aware of the various acts of discrimination and has consistently ignored, minimized or dismissed the harassment. The New York Times
reported on the case on November 8th, 2013.
On December 6th, 2013, the school district moved for summary judgment. Judge Kenneth M. Karas heard oral arguments from both parties regarding summary judgment on July 14th. On November 3, 2014, the court granted in part and denied in part the motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims against the individuals, holding they were redundant with the claims against the school district. The rest of the motion was denied. The defendants appealed the partial denial of summary judgment on November 24, 2014. On May 1, 2015, a Second Circuit panel dismissed the appeal, determining it lacked jurisdiction because a final order had not been issued by the district court per 28 U.S.C. § 1291.
On July 10, 2015, Judge Karas approved the parties' settlement agreement. Total damages amounted to $4.48 million: $3 million for compensatory damages and $1.48 million for attorney's fees. The injunctive part of the settlement required Pine Bush School District to revise and install policies to prevent or swiftly respond to incidents of anti-Semitism [see Exhibit 1 of the Settlement Agreement]. Additional measures included the continuance of a "No Place for Hate Committee," curriculum revisions to promote diversity and prevent bullying, professional development, and the appointment of an internal Title VI Coordinator.Kathryn DeLong - 09/23/2014
Dan Hofman - 04/06/2016