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Pleasantville Schools Address Alleged Hate Crime

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Pleasantville school administrators said Tuesday that they planned to meet with the families of two students who were recently accused by police of anti-Semitic acts and charged with harassment.

"The actions of these two students are in no way reflective of the youth in Pleasantville," Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter said at the Pleasantville school board meeting. "There is no tolerance for this behavior."

According to police, the two high school students, both 16-years-old, were arrested over the weekend after turning themselves in to the Mount Pleasant Police Department. The students were charged with aggravated harassment after allegedly making anti-Semitic phone calls to the home of a Jewish family, the board of education said.

The school district sent a letter home to parents addressing the issue. The arrest concluded a month long investigation by police, police said.

High School Principal Dawn Bartz said that the school is making efforts to correct these actions.

"We plan on meeting with the parents and families of the perpetrators, we have to make this right," Bartz said. "We want to get the message out that tolerance and diversity is an ongoing message."

The district said they were able to be in contact with Mark Sameth, rabbi of Pleasantville Community Synagogue, who offered to work with the victims of this hate crime. Bartz said she believes the victims are not family members of any students within the high school.

Bartz said that although it was only two students who committed this crime, it is important to stress that students should not contribute by keeping their mouths shut.

"There are always bystanders," Bartz said. "We have to get students to be able to do the right thing and that can sometimes be something that's not natural to do, to seek a parent or an adult and speak out.”

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