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August 11, 2013 12:04 pm

Boston Jewish Family Sues Carver Schools in US District Court for Turning Blind Eye to Anti-Semitism Against 13-Year Old Son

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A "Bully Free Zone" sign in Ohio. Photo: wiki commons.

A Jewish family is suing the school district of Carver, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, for turning a blind eye to anti-Semitic attacks against their 13-year old son, The Patriot Ledger and The Boston Globe reported.

The mother of the victim Jennyfer Sordillo said she also suffered anti-Semitic abuse when she was a student in Carver. “I can understand exactly what my son goes through all the time,” Sordillo, 38, told The Patriot Ledger. “That’s why I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. This is still going on?’ I will not let my son be tortured like this.”

The lawsuit claims the school department is violating the boy’s constitutional rights by “failing to prevent religious-based harassment and bullying,” “deliberately disregarding the harassment and physical abuse,” and failing to follow its anti-bullying plan, The Patriot Ledger reported.

Defendants in the suit are the Carver School Department, Superintendent Elizabeth Sorrell, Carver Middle-High School Principal Scott Knief, and Assistant Principal Christine Cabral.

“This is not a traditional bullying case. It’s about targeting someone specifically because of their religion,” attorney Joseph L. Sulman, who is representing the boy’s family and seeking financial damages, told The Patriot Ledger.

The Boston Globe said the boy was the target of daily anti-Semitic attacks from a group of boys who subjected him to offensive religious slurs and Nazi salutes. The suit alleges that the boy was beaten up, had pennies thrown at him, was slammed against lockers, and punched in the head. A swastika was also found etched in chalk outside the family’s Carver home.

Two of the bullies were arraigned last month on assault and battery and civil rights charges.

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  • Cray

    I live in carver first its a suburb of Massachusetts not Boston second kniff was my vice principal the fact is there are a lot of students being bullied this kid is just one as for the racist comments being used freedom of speech they should not be harassing this kid with these comments bit they do have a right to there own beliefs as do all of you weather its religious beliefs political or social if they want to voice them there is a time and a place and that’s not school

    • Lena

      What if it were a Black kid subjected to racism? Would blow that off, too?

  • Vered

    We must stand together and fight back .we are in u.s and so far it is not exactly a Craim to be different. Being nice guys did not work for 2000 years .

  • Jonathan Marchant

    I occasionally ran into discrimination while in the Marine Corps. It was not beneath me to knock a couple of heads together; this often followed a verbal reprimand, which invariably came first. Once the violation was understood, I proceeded to provide Extra Military Instruction. The combination of approaches invariably proved more effective than either alone. This did not stop the discrimination, but I rarely had to address it twice with the same persons.

  • Taryn Malonson

    For the sake of all children being bullied, I hope the Carver school system and administration finally has to answer to someone.
    My brother was bullied, (now 13 years old, adopted and of Latino descent) so badly that my parents chose to remove him from Carver schools and find an alternative. We had multiple meetings, made multiple complaints about how out of control bullying in this town and school system is, with no solution and often times were laughed at. They do not enforce the so called ‘anti bullying’ plan they have in place.
    The extent of bullying crosses all genders, religions, disabilities. Carver needs to be held responsible for educating our children to be tolerant and accept and embrace differences.

  • Michael Mendelson

    Anti Semitism, Holocaust denial, bully, credible threat of violence pages/groups and profiles are running rampant throughout Facebook. We’ve created a page about a 3 months ago & blew up to almost 10,000 likes. We have had success in removing many of these pages privately for about a year now. And we have just uncovered a prostitution page with filthy pics, phone numbers and open email contacts with close to 19,000 ppl on it.

    We have successfully removed over 500 pages this past year. This week we finally removed “Death To Israel” & “Hitler’s Memorial” “Kentucky Fried Jews” and way much more. yet there are 1000’s more & the removed get replaced quite quickly. Below is a link to our page.

    Next step of action would be, is to hold a demonstration in front of Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. We have stared promoting and police know we are coming. All we need to do so legally has been taken care of for our protection is in place. That’s where your help comes in. We are asking for your support be providing a speaker and help promoting further. We have close to 200 ppl willing to go & feel that 1,000’s will show. (See blog link on the bottom. The date is set to Oct 14 10am

    Stand With Us & Children Of Jewish Holocaust Survivors are also onboard to help us promote.

    We must do this for the safety of our children. It’s our duty to keep FB clean. Cyber bullying is still going on. Amanda Todd took her life close to 9 months ago, yet these kids persist. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Now there is a possibility of another demonstration at the same time, but in NYC. Can keep you posted on that, but goal remains in California where I & friends will be.

    Michael Mendelson

    Page is called “Help Remove Hate And Anti Semitic Pages”

    • Mel

      The First Amendment bars government-enforced political correctness, the motive behind Obama’s assault upon the
      Constitution. If we must go there, censorship must be pursued universally and blindly, but history suggests it will not. In an ideal world, Judaism’s 0.22% would be protected from the other 99.78%. That reality, which could not penetrate the skulls of the diaspora’s Liberal Jews if it was delivered by a Patriot missile, suggests ritual circumcision brain-damaged the 78% that voted to reelect Obama. In Utopia, Holder would be the first indicted, but he is only a symptom. Obama should be Public Enemy Number One, not Public Enema Number Two.

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    So what should we say of the many colleges that permit anti semitic harassment by anti Israel members of the student body and call it free speech and intellectual discourse, I only have to mention some of the colleges of the University of California where this has occurred. Does anyone recall the happenings at the UC Irvine campus?

  • andria spindel

    I am surprised at those who make excuses for bullying and this was not just about name calling. Read the story, this child was physically assaulted! This is inexcuseable. Its not character building, but demoralizing and in Canada several children recently committed suicide over being bullying. Wake up Bostonians and deal with the real impact of this horrible action.

  • Alex Longer

    I was attacked by anti-Semities in my school many times. Now i am a multi millionaire. I think it because my school years character building i am successful now.

    • Ivan Gur-Arie

      Congratulations on your millions. However what you have in the bank has nothing to do with anti Semitism. There were many very rich Jews in Europe and that did not help when Hitler came to power. You also make a mistake by equating character with money. The trouble is that people have a habit of making that non sequitur. There are people who have money and have great character and people without money who have that same character. I hate to say this but your money has not kept you from being a fool.

  • Joy

    The parents of the abusive children should be apprehended. They are the ones that teach their children their views of anti- semitism. I am proud of the fact that she has taken this to court. It may bring out more anti semitism and if so the authorities should deal with it appropriately.

  • Cammy Rubin

    …and also, yes, I agree in an ideal world there should be no bullying in any school, much less anti-semitic bullying. However kids are kids, every child has to learn the fact that words can hurt and can not be taken back. Some never learn. It is wrong, but short of total robotic mind control, it will still happen from time-to-time. It would be good to be prepared by lowering the prohibitive costs of Jewish education to reasonable level for most families.

  • Cammy Rubin

    As a Jewish community, we should be protecting and nurturing our children. It is a shame that the cost of Jewish school is too expensive for many, if not most, Jewish families in the U.S. One person here said send the boy to a Jewish school already, which implies that you are blaming the parents for the bullying. I would venture to say it is due to the state of the U.S. Jewish education system – having children subjected to anti-semitic bullying in public school is largely due to the prohibitive cost of Jewish school. Even at an income-based reduced rate, when it is a choice of groceries and shelter for the whole family vs. reduced tuition for just one child, then public school remains the only choice you have given us. I do not expect free education, however remaining “reasonably competitive” with other private schools is keeping tuition out of reach. Its like throwing our own to the wolves. It is not the parents fault, it is the responsibility of all of us, the whole community.

  • Dianne

    I thought all schools in North American had a no bullying law, or rule. Since when is antisemitism not bullying? Since when can school age kids get away with saying things that aren’t pleasant to anyone or is it no one cares enough to changes things. Think about it if the mother who is now 38 years old went through the same thing in the same school, there really is a problem with the school and the parents of the kids who were arraigned, should also be charged with the same charges, since they were probably the same people that attacked the mother all those years ago.

    Pam Chester, there is only one problem with thinking a vote to change the education system anywhere will ever make a difference where antisemitism is concerned. How can it when there are a whole lot of politicians are as antisemitic as these kids and there families seem to be!!

  • EthanP

    Having suffered from both bullying and anti-Semitism,in middle and high school, they are not always the same. I found the schools reluctant to deal with “problems” of any sort. They just want things to run smoothly.

  • Lana Fayman

    I say good for the parents – Jews need to stand up for our rights – seems like every other minority does and it gets attention. Jewish education is wonderful so I would consider it – after making the public school own up to its tolerance of intolerance. Self defense classes are also a good idea.

    • Stevan

      Being a Serb I’m overqualified to discuss the matter above. I was ( a small, but part) of system which intended to purify Serbian society from all the extraneous elements. Slowly, but thoroughly, to purify the every ( even private) aspect of life clean from any foreign elements, treated like pests that ruin Serbian, all non-Serbs were therefore the threat to all-Serbian society.
      Be aware of such agendas, one of them- Serbian- led to the massacre in Srebrenica, where 7 000 men, between 15-16 to 65-70 yrs. old were shot dead in four days in July, 1995. Around 800 000 Albanians were expelled from Kosovo, 1999. 300 Prisoners of War were executed on the farm called ” Ovčara”, near Vukovar City in Croatia.
      Atrocities were stopped by Westerners Interventions in all three cases. Only ultimate force could stopped them, in that phase of ” disease”, the only cure is to remove the center of inflammation, and then, slowly to heal the rest of the body.
      Hitler had been a joker from Bavarian tavern, yet, he managed to sixty million people die for his ideas of how the world should have looked like.
      Non of such kind of misbehavior can be considered as petty. Fight against it, with all the means necessary, is required to avoid the slavery!

  • Isaac Waterman

    Please correct the spelling mistakes in my comment.

  • Isaac Waterman

    Take the boy to a Jewish school tomorrow, already.
    Have the defendants in the case fired from the school.
    They are either anti-Semitic, stupid, or both.
    In the 2013, there is no excuse for such behavior.
    Shame on them.

    • Stevan

      Examine the ” little” fascist’s parents of how do they feel about Jews. I believe you would find parent’s answers ” interesting”, if not ” shocking”?!
      ” An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.

  • Rachel Hersey

    We have the same antisemitic bullying in the Englewood mj school system. Jews foot the property tax bills which support the schools but if one of us go there we’re called dirty Jew. Glad someone is finally taking some action.

  • It seems lawsuits are the only viable option. This stuff goes on in the colleges as well and the administrators are afraid to confront it.

  • Alice Gross

    She should really consider sending him to a Jewish Day school.What do people except there children to put up with
    when they put them in public schools with Gentiles.Why put them in this situation ? Just to sue a school ? He would be better off in many ways being in a Jewish environment and learning Jewish subject matter.

    • rick

      I agree he will come out of a jewish school with an education instead of being a total idiot out of public school

    • Otto Schiff

      I disagree with that method. The boy has a right to going to school without being harassed. Running to a Jewish school is not a good solution.

      • rick

        He will still get a better education instead of a government indoctrination

        • Dianne

          I live in Canada and my younger brother went to Hebrew school for a number of years, (I went after regular school) however when we moved and he had to change schools, they found his education was lacking in certain areas because the education is not the same. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for a Jewish Education, but I got mine going after regular classes and it worked fine. The sad part about a child being in a Hebrew School is that the antisemitism is more visible since the dead heads will wait outside the school and verbally attack these kids as they leave. Unfortunately antisemitism is all around us every day and the only thing that will change it is education for the fools who preach this crap generation after generation and trust me, most of these kids that say things, have no idea why except that their parents said it. Hence my statement of parents need to be charged too

      • Naomi Jay

        ALthough I am a proponent of Jewish day schools and my son attended from K through 12, they are not exempt from bullying problems and sometimes have a harder time dealing with issues of bullying because a) they cannot believe it happens and b) the perpetrators often are children of big donors. This is not isolated, sadly I have heard this form several people in several school districts.

      • Carl SAVLOFF

        Yes-the family should STAND THEIR GROUND…The public school system is for all any Racial disturbances should be stopped by The staff…i

    • Stan Gornish

      He’ll certainly get a Jewish education but he won’t be in the real world; I mean I think it’s important for Jewish people to understand that we are a splinter of a percentage of the world’s population and that we have to learn to stand up for ourselves –it’s the only way we’ll be respected. “Turning the other cheek” is actually a Christian term, but too many Jews do just that. That’s how FDRoosevelt and the NY Times got away with fuzzying over the Holocaust, and everytime Israel gives in, the Arabs see weakness.I applaud the parents for taking their son’s case to court.

      • Stan Gornish

        It wouldn’t hurt to have their son to get into a Karate program or some other form of self-defense. It builds self awareness and confidence. I did it, and my son has his second Black Belt in Hapkido; it’s not for attacking anyone, purely defensive, but the attacker gets hurt, not the defender.

    • tsivia leah

      why should we run again?????Let’s hit this problem head on!He is already proud to be Jewish,lets put a stop to the ignorance!

  • Sara Springer

    Good for you. Do not put up with this vile, criminal behavior. I hope your son recovers as best he can from this horror.

  • Judi Pawliger

    They , their parents, their school administration, should have a compulsory visit with the ADL, and a speaker( Holocaust survivor) should speak at the school.they all need some serious tolerance education.

    • Pam Chester

      No huggy sessions. Use your precious vote to change the education system in America that is run by liberal unions. We are in this together. I am a senior paying huge taxes to educate the young in this country and my money is wasted. I really hope this family receives financial justice and the son can afford a higher academic private school. He just might be my doctor one day!