Dr. John B. King, Jr.
Commissioner of Education and
President of the University of the State of New York
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234
Dear Commissioner King,
I write to express my serious concern with reports of anti-Semitic harassment including physical attacks at Pine Bush Central School District.
The alleged behavior is nothing that should ever be tolerated in our schools: swastikas drawn on school property remaining for "weeks or months," anti-Semitic slurs and caustic Holocaust jokes directed at Jewish students -- at times with school faculty present -- and physical attacks including a Jewish student being beaten with a hockey stick and another having a swastika forcibly drawn on her face. As recently as last year, three of the students' families filed suit in court.
Today I directed the State Police and the Division of Human Rights to investigate the alleged acts of anti-Semitism. I fully expect the State Department of Education (SED) to be forthcoming to parents across New York State regarding the Department's knowledge of these reprehensible acts and what, if any, steps have been taken to ensure Pine Bush students of Jewish origin can attend their school without being subject to anti-Semitic attacks.
If these reports are true, I would like to know what, if anything, SED knew about this situation and if you or your department was aware, when you became aware, and what SED has done to investigate and/or address the situation.
GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO