Student can move ahead on anti-Semitic harassment claims

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In G.D.S. v. Northport-East Northport Union Free School District, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182976 (ED NY, Dec. 22, 2012), a New York federal district court held that a 16-year old plaintiff had adequately stated a federal Equal Protection claim based on deliberate indifference in his suit against the school district in which he had formerly attended high school. Plaintiff alleged that he had been subjected to anti-Semitic harassment and bullying in person and on Facebook by classmates, and that school officials did nothing about the situation even though plaintiff furnished them detailed information about the problem and the names of the harassers. The harassment included numerous instances of mocking use of Holocaust references.  The court held plaintiff had also stated a claim for discrimination on the basis of “creed” under the New York Civil Rights Law.  However the court held that plaintiff’s claim under the New York constitution should be dismissed, as should his claim for damages under the state’s Human Rights Law.