Unsuitable class material isn't the only problem in Newton schools. For years, school officials have threatened retaliation - or actually retaliated - against students, parents, and teachers.
NPS Superintendent David Fleishman is aware of the problem. So was Mayor Setti Warren. Yet not only has nothing been done, the perpetrators have been awarded with endorsements and accolades not only from each other but from at least one well-known Jewish organization for purportedly 'combating anti-semitism'.
The NPS and at least one School Committee member - Matthew Hills, formerly Vice-Chair of the School Committee - were found by state and federal authorities to have illegally retaliated against a sixteen-year-old student whose parent objected to anti-Israel materials. No sanctions were imposed.
The Newton Teachers Association told city and school officials, in writing, about threatened retaliation against teachers who asked school administrators to report anti-semitic incidents to police. Again, nothing was done.
A report commissioned by the NPS also noted the threats against the teachers. The report, including the names of the officials who threatened teachers, was heavily redacted before being released. More than a year later (and after the NPS spent thousands of dollars fighting the request for a complete report), the names of the school officials involved are still unknown.
Parents have spoken at School Committee meetings and a public forum about their fears of retaliation against themselves or their children if they object to anti-Israel material. Again, school officials and Mayor Warren are well aware of those fears and parents' comments, which are videotaped (as are all School Committee meetings and public forums). Yet again, nothing has been done.
Jewish organizations, local synagogues, and civil rights organizations are well aware of the situation but refuse to act.
To be clear, these are not unsubstantiated claims. Parents and teachers have come forward with allegations substantiated by federal and state government findings and relevant written material.
That nothing has been done is shameful.
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