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Thursday, May 9, 2024

Antisemitism at Rutgers and Inside the NYC Department of Education

Jewish teacher sues DOE over antisemitism at NYC high school, shares abhorrent email: ‘All Jews need to be exterminated’

By Georgia Worrell and Priscilla DeGregory, NY POST, May 3, 2024

A Jewish teacher who said she was terrorized by students at her Brooklyn high school — including with swastikas, death threats, Nazi salutes and Hitler-loving comments — has sued over the heinous antisemitism that school officials allegedly allowed to run rampant.

Danielle Kaminsky, whose alleged ordeal was detailed in a front-page Post expose about hateful incidents at Origins High School in Sheepshead Bay, claims bigotry was “effectively promoted and encouraged” there, according to the Brooklyn federal lawsuit from Friday.

Kaminsky, 33, a global history teacher, claims she was the victim of a slew of antisemitic incidents since the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre — including an email she received saying, “All Jews need to be exterminated.”

According to the suit, from Oct. 8 through March — when Kaminsky was finally transferred to another school — students engaged in an array of “aggressive antisemitism” at Origins including marching through campus chanting “f–k the Jews,” and “Death to Israel!” while waiving the Palestinian flags, drawing swastikas on school grounds and glorifying Adolf Hitler, the suit claims.

But when Kaminsky, 33, spoke up about it, the school retaliated against her, the suit alleges.

Campus manager Michael Beaudry — the other plaintiff in the suit — supported Kaminsky and made a bid for the administration to intervene, but was also allegedly punished for speaking out.

The students conducted their campaign of hate within a New York City public school, emblazoned it in graffiti on its furniture, scribbled it on blackboards, circulated it in emails and text messages, and repeated it on papers and notes foisted on, and taunts directed at, Jewish teachers and students,” the suit charges.

Kaminsky and Beaudry’s alleged nightmarish experiences were part of a wave of antisemitic incidents reported at New York City schools in the wake of the terror group’s attack on the Jewish state — including one anti-Israel riot by students at a Queens school that left a teacher cowering in fear.

Schools Chancellor David Banks is set to testify on Wednesday before the US House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce — the same congressional panel that has grilled presidents of elite universities about antisemitism on campus.

“Students and staff deserve to be safe and respected in their school and Origins High School is no different. We will review this lawsuit,” said Department of Education spokesman Nathaniel Styer.

During the hateful march at Origins on Oct. 11, students chanted “death to Israel” and other vitriol — but school officials didn’t mete out any punishments, according to the lawsuit.

This only “emboldened” the student to start “directing antisemitism at Jewish teachers and students,” the documents allege.

Kaminsky says the school’s lack of punishment for bigotry at school meant it could thrive. She received a slew of hate including students writing “die” on her class door.

One student the day after, drew swastikas on Kaminsky’s blackboard during class, others left post-it notes on her door and bulletin board and around school saying “death to Israel,” the filing claims.

But Interim Acting Principal Dara Kammerman “fueled” the bigotry by failing to punish the students and instead hosting a restorative justice circle — which the teens called the “Pro-Palestinian Circle,” the suit claims.

Kaminsky and another Jewish teacher at Origins received a particularly vicious email titled “filthy Jew Kaminsky” on March 5 from someone threatening: “All Jews need to be exterminated. Their doors kicked in in the middle of the night. A bullet put in each of their heads.

“Through all history, the k–es are purveyors of mass death and suffering. They will never stop until
they are stopped. Kaminsky the foul whiny Jew has no place in America let alone a school
system. Here’s hoping the Muslim students put an end to her, and that it’s both terrifying
and very painful,” the email continued.

Kaminsky and Beaudry’s lawyer Jim Walden said they don’t know who the email was from and hope to find out over the course of litigation.

Roughly a year earlier, Kaminsky was forced to removed at least 10 students from class for “abhorrent behavior” in which they spewed hateful remarks during a presentation from two interns of the Museum of Jewish Heritage ahead of a school trip.

One student said he would “take money out of dead Jewish people’s corpses” and another added “why would anyone want to help the Jewish people” — comments forcing Kaminsky to interrupt the presentation several times and excuse students from the class, the filing alleges.

The museum’s invitation for students from Origins to visit on a school trip was rescinded after the incident, the papers claim.

 Beaudry had warned Kammerman against hosting the “Pro-Palestinian Circle” in the aftermath of the student march, telling her she wasn’t allowed to engage with students in political speech, but she responded “I’m doing it,” the suit claims.

Shortly after on Oct. 25, 2023, a Jewish student sent Kammerman a letter saying he felt threatened and requested to be transferred to another school, according to the lawsuit.

Kammerman also failed to punish a student who was one of the students who left hateful post-it notes around school and who was caught on Jan. 9, 2024 with fireworks in her jacket pocket, the suit says.

“Kammerman intervened on [the student’s] behalf to forestall her arrest, as NYPD was eventually altered to the incident,” the court documents claim.

And things continued to escalate with one student posting on a classroom message board with Kaminsky “f–k u” and “ima bomb this school,” the filing alleges.

Students also went after a Jewish teacher they found out was gay, with one student getting arrested after threatening he would “pull you into the back of a van and rape you because you are gay,” the complaint says.

When the student eventually came back to school he wore a “Hitler-style mustache drawn under his nose” and stepped into a classroom with other students and “performed the Nazi salute” — in an incident caught on school surveillance cameras, the court papers claim.

In a separate incident on January 22, two students — who were caught on video posting a Palestinian flag in Kaminsky’s room — approached her when she was alone, saying “How do you feel about Hitler?” — which she took as a threat, the filing claims.

Kaminsky requested to transfer schools multiple times but instead was met with retaliation including unfounded “disciplinary conferences” and threats of low performance ratings, the court papers claim.

She was eventually transferred to a school in Queens in March 2024 but was told she could only stay for three months and would need to find another school after. Kaminsky was also restricted from most digital systems and processes that teachers were ordinarily given, the suit claims.

Similarly, Beaudry, 48, was also retaliated against, having been given three notices for “disciplinary conferences” in January 2024 and he was forced to work from home starting March 5 until his “investigations” were resolved, the filing claims.

He was removed as athletic director on March 22, which “had the effect of reducing his compensation,” the suit alleges.

They pair are suing for unspecified damages.

The Post first exclusively reported on Kaminsky and Beaudry’s experiences in March with Kaminsky saying at the time: “I live in fear going to work every day.”

“This had been devastating for Danielle and Michael,” Walden told The Post. “Obviously, no one seeks to be an educator only to be a target of racist attacks.”

“But to be belittled and disparaged by—and worse, to suffer reprisals from—those is charge has been a monumental challenge. The story of their resilience is a lesson in courage,” the lawyer said.

Kaminsky and Beaudry were invited to speak at a forum in Washington DC Friday hosted by the not-for-profit Brandeis Center where they shared their experiences with congressional staff, their lawyer Jim Walden told The Post.

“It seems to have been a complete abdication of responsibility, and then an attempted cover up,” said Mark Goldfeder, who serves as senior counsel at the Brandeis Center, about school officials’ alleged inaction.

He urged Congress to “hold their feet to the fire” in the upcoming House hearing on “Confronting Pervasive Antisemitism in K-12 Schools.”

Walden said his clients are waiting to find out whether they will be invited to testify next week at the hearings that Banks will take part in.

“Every country in the world is represented in NYC Public Schools, and our schools are not insulated from global events, nor the hate, fear, or bigotry that accompanies times like these. To address the pernicious threat of antisemitism, Chancellor Banks’ ‘Meeting the Moment’ plan focuses on addressing incidents quickly with appropriate discipline, education, and engagement with our communities,” Styer said.

Kammerman and reps with the city Law Department didn’t return requests for comment.

Additional reporting by Joshua Christenson

Emails to the post claim that pro-Israeli students had to move their BBQ out of Vorhees Mall, even though pro-Palestinian students had been allowed to camp there. [photo: Rutgers Chabad]

Rutgers Associate Dean of Students Kerri Willson refused to allow the Jewish students to gather at the spot, saying no events could be held on campus after the last day of classes on Monday, April 29.                  Rutgers Chabad

Rutgers forces Jewish BBQ off campus after giving into anti-Israel encampment's demands

by dspectomyp, NY POST, May 4, 2024

Rutgers University refused to let a Jewish group hold a pro-Israel barbecue on the campus’ Vorhees Mall, despite allowing pro-terror protesters to camp there for days, emails obtained by The Post claim.

Rutgers Associate Dean of Students Kerri Willson refused to allow the Jewish students to gather at the spot, saying no events could be held on campus after the last day of classes on Monday, April 29 — despite allowing the encampment to drag on until May 2.

The Kosher cookout was set to mark the end of a grueling semester for Jewish students at Rutgers, which has seen pro-Hamas students plaster a pro-Israel student’s picture all over their dorm; spray paint pictures of Palestinian terrorists on campus sidewalks; and scream “Hitler would have loved you” at Jewish students.

The encampments finally ended after administrators caved into protester demands, including blanket amnesty for demonstrators.

Kelly Shapiro, co-founder of Students Supporting Israel, which organized the barbecue, called the university’s stance an “antisemitic double standard.”

“If they let them camp out for three days, almost four, how is it we can’t have a two-hour barbecue?” asked Rutgers junior Camilla Vaynberg.

The barbecue was instead held at nearby Buccleuch Park, and catered by local restaurant Bridge Turkish and Mediterranean Grill, which was flooded with nasty online reviews after the event.

Despite being forced off campus in the middle of finals, about 100 to 150 people turned out for the barbecue.

“They can try to intimidate us but we’re not afraid to be pro-Israel on campus,” said Students Supporting Israel co-president Michael Batushansky.

Kelly Shapiro, co-founder of Students Supporting Israel, which organized the barbecue, called the university’s response a clear “antisemitic double standard.”                                                               Rutgers Chabad

“Our pride won’t be squashed,” added Vaynberg.

Rutgers did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.

Antisemitic graffiti found at NYC elementary school while schools boss claims to Congress incidents dealt with in ‘appropriate fashion’