No charges to be filed amid Pine Bush school anti-Semitism allegations

Marcus Solis is liive in Orange County
On Tuesday, orientation day in the Pine Bush School District, officials announced that no criminal charges would be filed in connection with alleged acts of anti-Semitism in Pine Bush schools.

A lawsuit alleged the school district turned a blind eye to repeated complaints of harassment and the targeting of Jews. A state police investigation that followed lasted five months, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a review.

A statement from the Orange County District Attorney's Office said that the State Police investigated the allegations filed in federal court by former students and parents against the Pine Bush Central School District.

"Both agencies concluded that many of the alleged acts were committed by children too young to be charged with those acts as criminals ... and that others were precluded by the statute of limitations," the statement said. "Moreover, the investigation revealed no evidence that any school official had engaged in any criminal conduct."

But attorneys responsible for bringing the lawsuit seemed largely undeterred.

"This case has never been about criminally prosecuting the children who are harassing Jewish students, it's about changing the way that Pine Bush schools deal with this admittedly pervasive problem," said Adele Kimmel, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs.

Ilann M. Maazel, also an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the civil case is ongoing. "We are going to pursue justice in this case until justice is done," Maazel said.

"The District admits this harassment happened to these children," said O. Andrew F. Wilson, another of the children's attorneys. "The Pine Bush schools must partner with the community to educate our children in tolerance."

The allegations sparked counter protests that Pine Bush was being cast in a negative light. Some claim the lawsuit was filed because of opposition to a large Hasidic development under construction in Bloomingburg.
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