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Chicago 8th Graders Barred from Graduation for Anti-Semitic Bullying

Victim's mother confronts Local School Council

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Victim's mother addresses Local School Council and accuses principal of dragging his feet. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Thursday, Jun 5, 2014)

    Three students accused of bullying a Jewish classmate are being barred from their eighth-grade graduation at their North Side school.

    A 14-year-old Jewish student at Ogden International School says the bullying started earlier in the school year and involved an online game where the students called themselves the “Jew Incinerator.”

    Bullying Scandal Shocks Parents at Chicago School

    [CHI] Bullying Scandal Shocks Parents at Chicago School
    Parents react after Chicago Public Schools invesitgates a bullying scandal at Ogden International School. Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Thursday, May 29, 2014)

    The boy's mother, Lisa Clemente, told the local school council Thursday that her complaints to school principal Joshua Vanderjagt had fallen on deaf ears for several months.

    Teen Says Girls Lit Her Hair on Fire

    [CHI] Teen Says Girls Lit Her Hair on Fire
    Tatyana Butler said the bullying began almost immediately when she started Waukegan's Thomas Jefferson Middle School this year. But the shy, standout student and her mother say the taunting and teasing went too far earlier this week. Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Thursday, May 9, 2013)

    "You're all here because I did Mr. Vanderjagt's job," Clemente told the council.

    "My son was bullied. There was anti-Semitism," Clemente later told reporters. "It's not brain surgery. You go, you call the parents, they get suspended, they don't walk in the graduation."

    The vice president of the Chicago Board of Education, Jesse Ruiz, attended Thursday's meeting and announced the students' ban from graduation. The students were also suspended for a day and forced to write letters of apology.

    "The district wants to send a clear message that these actions will not be tolerated at Ogden or any other school," Ruiz said at the school meeting. "We'll use this ugly incident -- and it was ugly -- for helpful dialogue."

    Ruiz said the board will also revise the student code of conduct and launch a cultural awareness campaign as well as district-wide sensitivity education and training. It will also begin training the principal immediately, as well as institute other measures.

    Clemente seemed satisfied with the district's response, but made it clear that the problem is still not solved. She believes what happened was actually a hate crime.

    "I can't forgive until we acknowledge; then we move on. It has to be acknowledged, and he has to understand he didn't do the right things," Clemente said.