Below is the text of the letter sent to the New York Times by Pine Bush Superintendent of Schools Tim O. Mains in response to the newspaper’s story that ran on Friday, March 1, 2019:
Ben Weiser’s article last Friday about the Pine Bush Schools was too brief to capture the great progress we have made creating an inclusive culture where everyone’s dignity is appreciated and respected. Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism are not unique to any location; they are a cancer on our society. That’s why we launched an aggressive, comprehensive response six years ago, focused on prevention, intervention and correction of bias, however expressed.
Since 2013, our district has implemented programs in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Southern Poverty Law Center, Sandy Hook Promise, Safe School Ambassadors and our Orange County District Attorney. We document every instance of graffiti and interpersonal conflict. We administer annual school climate surveys and have a private means to report concerns. We’ve brought Holocaust survivors to speak with students and provided training for teachers throughout Orange County by Israel’s Holocaust Center, Yad Vashem. Our efforts have led to clear improvements.
It is unfair to paint our District with a broad, negative brush. Rather than focus on a flawed survey question, I would invite you to look more carefully at Pine Bush. We have charted a path that others can learn from, and we understand this journey is one that must continue.
Tim O. Mains, Superintendent
Pine Bush Central Schools