Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Newton residents sue school board

NEWTON, MASSACHUSETTS—On Aug. 9, 2018, the community group Education Without Indoctrination filed a lawsuit against the School Committee of Newton, Massachusetts, in Massachusetts Superior Court on behalf of three Newton taxpayers. The lawsuit claims multiple violations of the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law stemming from the school committee’s handling of a burgeoning scandal over anti-Semitic lessons and the promotion of Islamic religious beliefs as objective facts in the public school district’s history classes.

In teaching world history, Newton Public Schools use hateful educational materials funded by the Saudi oil company ARAMCO and the government of Qatar. As a result, Newton public school students are propagandized with materials that slander Israel and the Jewish people, and that falsify history to promote the Islamic religion in public schools. Just this past May, Newton North High School invited an anti-Semitic group to screen Palestinian propaganda films to its students. For this, NPS Superintendent David Fleishman earned a rebuke from the New England branch of the Anti-Defamation League and Boston’s Jewish Community Relations Council.

Parents and taxpayers seeking information on what is happening in Newton classrooms have been met with a wall of silence and secrecy. “The Newton School Committee and the district’s superintendent, David Fleishman, have been stonewalling parents since 2011,” said Tanya Gorlin of EWI. “And the classroom bias just keeps getting worse every year.”

“All that secrecy has now crossed into illegality,” said Karen Hurvitz, a member of EWI and counsel for the Newton taxpayers in this lawsuit against the Newton School Committee. “For months now, dozens of Newton citizens have come before the school committee to complain about the non-objective, anti-Jewish, and Islamic religious lessons, as well as about Superintendent David Fleishman, who has refused to stop it being taught. Yet the names of all these citizens and summaries of what they said were deliberately omitted from the school committee meeting minutes month after month.”

According to the complaint, the Newton School Committee also concealed written evaluations of Superintendent David Fleishman from the public, in contravention of its own policy and the Open Meeting Law.

In their complaint, the Newton taxpayer plaintiffs seek orders compelling the school committee to present all written evaluations of Superintendent Fleishman at an open meeting, to acknowledge the public comments and discussions happening before them, and to halt all discussions of Superintendent Fleishman’s professional evaluation until these orders are carried out.

Ultimately, Newton Public Schools must investigate how biased teaching was introduced into its high schools and implement safeguards to ensure it never happens again.

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant,” said Hurvitz. We want Newton Public Schools to adopt a policy of total transparency on its curriculum, immediately stop teaching the current biased one, vet all future curriculum materials for accuracy and objectivity, inform students that they have been misled, and hold mandatory workshops on teaching the “new” anti-Semitism and objective Islamic history with all Newton teachers. Superintendent Fleishman is clearly unfit for this task and should be replaced.”


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