Sat. Jun 15th, 2024
alert-–-head-of-nyc’s-$63k-per-year-collegiate-school-is-forced-to-resign-after-branding-anti-semitism-taskforce-a-‘power-play-by-jewish-families’Alert – Head of NYC’s $63k-per-year Collegiate School is forced to resign after branding anti-Semitism taskforce a ‘power play by Jewish families’

The head of New York’s oldest school has resigned a week after he was accused of dismissing its anti-Semitism task force as a ‘joke’.

The board of trustees at the private Collegiate School launched a probe after more than 100 Jewish parents said its response to the October 7 Hamas attack failed to ‘meet the moment’.

But headteacher David Lourie allegedly described the move as ‘nothing more than a ‘power play by Jewish families and New York City Rabbis’ to have him ousted as head of school.

Task force head Anna Carello found that one English teacher had accused Israel of genocide in front to 6th and 7th graders shortly after the terrorist attacks, while two others had harangued a Holocaust survivor invited to speak at the school.

‘I feel like Collegiate has become a training camp for Columbia,’ one parent at the $63,400 a year K-12 school told the New York post.

The allegations came to light after Carello sued Lourie for gender discrimination last week claiming he undermined and sidelined her investigation as ‘punishment’ for her working with Jewish families.

Her report on May 17 found that some staff blamed ‘wealthy and influential’ Jewish parents for tensions at the all-boys school which had ‘skirted close to one of the oldest and most pervasive anti-Semitic tropes’.

It revealed that Middle School English teacher Dwayne Alexis had been ‘relieved of his teaching duties after presenting controversial lessons on the Middle East to his 7th-grade civics class and 6th-grade world history class’, with some parents claiming he had accused Israel of genocide.

It also revealed that two upper-school teachers had been ‘reprimanded’ after asking ‘pressing questions’ at a school Holocaust Assembly.

‘There was a Holocaust survivor invited to speak at the school and a teacher took it upon herself to press him on a series of questions, one of which was could ‘the swastika be a symbol of peace?’ one parent claimed.

‘People have lost confidence, there is no morality clarity, there is a pervasive anger and it is all driven by an erosion of trust,’ another added.

Carello claimed her investigation was hampered by having to teach the classes of Alexis after he was suspended.

And concerned parents were not reassured when her report came in at nine pages, compared to the 400 pages of the school’s 2020 response to ‘institutional and other racism that pervades so much of our society’.

The school claims to be the oldest in the country with a founding date of 1628 and an alumni which includes the son and grandson of JFK, actor David Duchovny, rapper Lil Mabu, and socialites Jack Schlossberg and Cornelius Vanderbilt II.

Four years ago an internal task force recommended its mascot, motto and seal be changed because they could be considered offensive.

And last week, the class of rising seniors signed a joint letter to staff and parents demanding they stop trying to impose ‘specific political opinions’ on them.

‘We would like to emphasize that the moral leadership best for our community is one that does not prescribe what we should believe, but how we should engage with others in rational, open-minded and empathetic discourse,’ they wrote.

Lourie, a graduate of Yale and Columbia, said he had decided to take the ‘difficult decision’ after talking to the Board of Trustees.

‘After four years filled with shared successes alongside challenges that required difficult and at times divisive decisions, we agreed that a new Head of School is what is best for the boys and the school community as Collegiate begins a brand new school year in the fall,’ he wrote in a statement.

‘We are, of course, living in a time when so many decisions are fraught with uncertainty, disagreement, and dissension,’ he added.

‘With every decision then, through every decision now, that has been my lodestar: what is best for the boys and their learning and well-being.’

Jonathan Youngwood, president of the school’s board of trustees president said the appointment of an interim head was imminent.

‘As we move to new leadership, I recognize the serious concerns and discussions that have been going on at the school this year,’ he wrote.

‘In the midst of this transition, I ask that our community engage with each other with respect and kindness.’

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