January 29, 2024 — New York, NY
American Jewish Committee (AJC) today welcomed a U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) agreement made with Delaware’s Red Clay Consolidated School District in a June 2023 student-filed case detailing horrific harassment of a Jewish student.
The complaint brought before the Education Department involved a young Jewish girl who was repeatedly harassed – including with Heil Hitler salutes, swastikas scrawled on her desk, and exposure to perpetrators even after pledges were made to keep her insulated from them. While the school took some steps, there was a reported lack of enforcement.
“No child should be fearful in school. That this young Delaware girl was being harassed so relentlessly and without adequate support from the adults meant to keep her safe is a stain on our education system,” said AJC CEO Ted Deutch. “This resolution from the Department of Education is an important step forward and contains numerous action steps that all schools can and should take to create and maintain a safe learning environment for Jewish students. Discipline is not enough, and these steps crucially can create a safe, inclusive climate for learning.”
According to the Department of Education, actions in the resolution include:
- Widely publicize an anti-harassment statement.
- Review its policies and procedures to ensure that they adequately address Title VI’s prohibition on discrimination based on race, color, and national origin, including discrimination based on a student’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.
- Develop or revise its procedure for documenting the school’s investigation of reports of harassment.
- Annually train all administrators, faculty, and staff at the school on Title VI’s prohibition of discrimination based on race, color, and national origin, including on the basis of shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics.
- Annually train school staff, including school-level administrators who are directly involved in processing, investigating, and/or resolving complaints and other reports of discrimination based on race, color, and national origin, including harassment based on shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics.
- Provide an age-appropriate informational program for students at the school to address discrimination based on race, color, and national origin, including harassment based on shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics.
- Conduct an audit of all complaints received during the 2023-2024 school year addressing discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, including harassment on the basis of shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, to ensure consistency of the application of and compliance with the district’s policies and procedures.
- Conduct an audit of all incidents at the school coded as “Inappropriate Behavior” and “Abusive Language/Gestures” during the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school year to determine if any of the incidents constituted discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, including harassment on the basis of shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, and if so, take appropriate steps to remedy the harassment on any affected students. And,
- Conduct a climate survey with students and provide OCR a summary of the survey results and the district’s proposed corrective actions in response to the survey results for OCR approval.
AJC has released A Guide for Administrators of U.S. Public Schools: Implementing the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, which explains and distills the elements of the U.S. National Strategy that are germane to public school spaces, Action Plan for Public School Administrators, a document that offers short-, medium-, and long-term strategies for public schools to employ in combating antisemitism, and Tough Questions On the Hamas Attack On Israel: Parenting High Schoolers among other resources to help schools and parents navigate the alarming surge in antisemitism seen in schools and across the U.S.
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit www.ajc.org