PINE BUSH, N.Y. -- A multi-million dollar settlement reached on an anti-semitism lawsuit involving the Pine Bush Central School district.
"The settlement requires significant reform, new training for teachers, cirriculum of tolerance and diversity for students," said attorney Ilann Maazel, who represents the students in question.
In 2012, five Jewish Pine Bush students claimed to be victims of anti-semitism in school. This included claims of coin-throwing, anti semitic clurs, and swastikas. After years of litigation and just weeks before the case is set to go to trial, the district has agreed to pay out nearly four and a half million dollars.
"This is a far reaching settlement and my hope is that because of the settlement we wont see pervasive anti-semitic harassment or bullying in these schools anymore," said Maazel during a phone interview.
A statement released on the school district website reads in part,
"Anti-semitic harassment is wrong. The district will never condone anti-semitic slurs or graffiti, holocaust jokes or physical violence. 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."
The Pine Bush School District recently made headlines after the Pledge of Allegiance was read aloud in Arabic in honor of language appreciation week. After uproar from many students and parents, the school issued an apology.
The suit in question accuses the district of failing to take action to protect students from harassment and discrimination. Many hope this settlement will end what has been an alarming pattern of discrimination and intolerance within the district.
"My hope is that this is a new day for Pine Bush. That's my hope. That this will be the beginning of a process that will really make a big difference," said Maazel.