update deskSchools & Higher Education

ZOA sues Cherry Hill Public Schools for failing to protect Jewish student

“The district not only tolerated the conduct but also indulged it,” the group said in a statement.

The view south along Interstate 295 (Camden Freeway) from the overpass for Chapel Avenue in Cherry Hill Township in Camden County, N.J. Credit: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons.
The view south along Interstate 295 (Camden Freeway) from the overpass for Chapel Avenue in Cherry Hill Township in Camden County, N.J. Credit: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons.

A Jewish student who experienced assault, bullying, threats and harassment from his peers only to receive blame and intimidation from his principal has received legal support to seek restitution.

In January, Levi Bolotina told JNS about the hostile educational environment he experienced at Cherry Hill High School East and how administrators blamed him for it. On Tuesday, the Zionist Organization of America filed a lawsuit on behalf of Bolotina.

In a statement, ZOA national president Morton A. Klein and Susan B. Tuchman, director of the group’s Center for Law and Justice, said that the school’s “indifference to the fear, pain and suffering” Bolotina experienced was “unconscionable, particularly after Hamas committed the worst mass slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.”

ZOA said that “instead of making it clear to the community that there would be zero tolerance for actions that seemingly celebrated Hamas’ massacre and made Jewish students feel unsafe, the district not only tolerated the conduct but also indulged it.”

Challenging the school’s actions in response to the bullying, ZOA said Bolotina was cast “as a wrongdoer who was asking for it. No one asks to be assaulted, threatened or harassed at their school based on their Jewish identity or for any other reason.”

Jeffrey Schreiber and Stephen Meister of Meister Seelig & Fein PLLC filed the suit, saying that the school administrators “coddled antisemitic terrorist-supporting thugs” while punishing Bolotina “for the ‘crimes’ of being Jewish in public, and having the temerity to expect that the district would follow its policies and protect its Jewish students.”

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