Elite NJ High School Facing Federal Lawsuit Over Harrowing Antisemitic Harassment of Jewish Student
An elite New Jersey high school is facing a federal lawsuit from a former Jewish student who alleged that classmates subjected her to systematic antisemitic abuse over three years, including by drawing Nazi swastikas on tables in the school cafeteria, and scrawling the words “I h8 Jews” on the sand during a high school field trip to a nearby beach.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced on Thursday that there was probable cause to establish that the Middleton-based Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) failed to properly respond to the harassment.
The anonymous plaintiff filed suit at the federal court in Trenton against the Monmouth County Vocational School District — which supervises MAST — the school board and four teachers, alleging she suffered antisemitic harassment during her time at the school.
During her sophomore year, the student observed students reading Adolf Hitler’s screed Mein Kampf, despite the fact that MAST’s curriculum did not include any studies relating to World War II or Nazi Germany that would require a student to read the book, the suit alleged.
On numerous occasions during lunch, she saw students “drawing images of swastikas in their notebooks and on school lunch tables.” School officials did not act, according to the suit.
During her junior year in 2018, the student participated in a school field trip to Sandy Hook Beach. Along with 17 other students, she received a text message from a classmate who attached a photograph of another MAST student lying on the beach, smiling, next to the words “I h8 Jews” scrawled in the sand.
After the student’s parents complained about the antisemitic abuse meted out to their daughter, school officials suspended three students for between 2 and 4 days. This resulted in a campaign of retribution against the student, who was forced to drop out of the school despite her 4.0 grade point average.
Speaking to the New York Post on Thursday, the student disclosed that she would be permanently marked by the harrowing experience.
“I’m forever saddened that this happened to me, but I have grown to accept that my family and I did the right thing by reporting it,” she said. “I am trying to move forward but this will always be something I carry.”