Conflict Resolution, Then and Now: the Indian River School District Decision

I have to confess that I was a little "buffaloed" by the story of the school district in Delaware which (mercifully) came to a settlement in litigation concerning religious expression in schools.

One line, however, caught my special attention:

Mrs. Dobrich’s decision to leave her hometown and seek legal help was made after a school board meeting in August 2004 on the prayer issue. Hundreds showed up to protest her position.

Her son, Alex, then 11, had written a short statement that said in part: “I feel bad when kids in my class call me ‘Jew boy.’ I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever.”

Contrast this with the following (from my 2005 piece Join the Club (Maybe Not!):

All through my years in school in South Florida, Jewish and Gentile kids were together. I had many Jewish friends and classmates. Sometimes things didn’t go according to plan. My brother made the mistake of calling a Jewish classmate a "Jew boy," and same son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob responded by fracturing his jaw. (That’s one way to deal with anti-Semitism!)

Needless to say, my brother’s Jewish friend had no thought of leaving Palm Beach!

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