ADL Welcomes Gov. Paterson's Effort to Ensure Civil Rights Protections For All Students

New York, NY, June 18, 2010 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed Governor David A. Paterson's effort to ensure civil rights protections for all New York students.

In a proposal transmitted to the state legislature, the governor is seeking to clarify that New York State discrimination protections do in fact apply to public schools and school districts. Due to ambiguity in the language of the current statute known as the New York Human Rights Law, there is a legal question as to whether its protections extend beyond private schools.

"It is critically important for the law in New York State to protect public school students from discrimination," said Ron Meier, ADL New York Regional Director."Governor Paterson's bill would remove any doubt caused by ambiguity in the current law, and ensure that New York's Division of Human Rights is an available forum for those public schools students that feel they suffered from discrimination. This proposal is clearly in the public's best interest, and we urge the state legislature to move quickly toward its adoption."

The League previously filed amicus briefs in several cases asserting that when the original law was enacted in 1945, the legislature fully intended it to cover public schools. The adoption of Governor Paterson's proposal would remove any lingering doubts.

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