School Accused Of Anti-Semitism Recites Pledge In Arabic

PINE BUSH, N.Y. (AP) -

A school accused by parents of rampant anti-Semitism apologized on Wednesday for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic after complaints from residents who lost family members in the Afghanistan war.

The pledge was read in Arabic on Wednesday morning at Pine Bush High School, whose district spreads across rural parts of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties.

Some students were angered and responded with catcalls. District Superintendent Joan Carbone said she received complaints from residents who lost relatives in Afghanistan and from Jewish parents.

The pledge read in Arabic has “divided the school in half,” she said.

The district said the school’s foreign language department arranged to have the pledge recited in different languages for National Foreign Language Week last week.

The principal made a building-wide announcement Wednesday afternoon to explain the reading’s context and apologize to students who took offense. Carbone said the pledge will be read in English only from now on, as is directed in state Department of Education regulations.

In 2013, several Jewish parents filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, saying their children were the targets of anti-Semitic harassment from classmates. In November, a federal judge ruled the case could go forward.