Probe finds carelessness caused Jewish student group’s omission from New Jersey high school yearbook

Jun 19, 2024, 6:03 PM

An investigation into how and why a Jewish student group was erased from a New Jersey high school yearbook found the omission was caused by negligence and carelessness, but was not done on purpose or out of malice, the school district announced Wednesday.

East Brunswick Public Schools hired a law firm to investigate after the situation came to light earlier this month and caused an uproar. A photo of a group of Muslim students appeared in the spot reserved for the Jewish Student Union, and the names of the Jewish group’s members were omitted from the page.

It was the yearbook advisor who placed the incorrect photo on the page, the probe concluded. The advisor said she was rushing to finish production and mistakenly grabbed the wrong photo from a computer folder that stored yearbook images for the Coptic Club, the Muslim Student Association and the Jewish Student Union. The advisor also said it was “too late” to ask for a roster of Jewish Student Union members for inclusion, according to the probe’s written findings.

“I conclude that the use of the incorrect photograph was not purposeful, but rather was a highly unfortunate error,” Yaacov Brisman of Brisman Law, who conducted the probe, said in the report. “I have no basis to find that she acted out of any animus, racial, religious, or political, towards Jewish or Muslim students.”

Brisman said the educator “was at best careless, but her actions can also be considered negligent,” and that she should have “exercised greater attention to detail” and shown more sensitivity. The report suggested an overhaul of the yearbook production process but did not make a recommendation on discipline.

The district said Wednesday it plans more oversight over the yearbook production and review process and that it will also launch a “tolerance training program” next school year.

“While I’m grateful that the results of this investigation show that these actions were serious mistakes without malice, we must now focus on repairing the deep hurt and division that has been created in our school and community,” said East Brunswick Schools Superintendent Victor Valeski. “We will make sure that there is accountability for the mistakes that were made.”

East Brunswick’s mayor had called the yearbook omission a “blatant Anti-Semitic act” and said the probe should consider whether it was a hate crime worthy of prosecution. The New Jersey office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations had called for a “transparent and fair investigation” and said the yearbook incident had triggered “heinous backlash” against Muslim students.

Messages were sent to East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen and CAIR seeking comment on the results of the probe.

United States News

FILE — Hunter Biden arrives at federal court with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, June 11, 2024, i...

Associated Press

Hunter Biden seeks dismissal of tax, gun cases, citing decision to toss Trump’s classified docs case

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, asked a federal judge Thursday to dismiss tax and gun cases against him, citing a ruling in Florida this week that threw out a separate prosecution of former President Donald Trump. The requests in federal court in Delaware and California underscore the potential ramifications of U.S. District […]

28 minutes ago

FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Butler County, Ohio, Jail shows John Allen Carter...

Associated Press

Man gets 3 years in death of fiancée who went missing in Ohio in 2011

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — The fiancé of an Ohio art student who went missing nearly 13 years ago was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison. John Carter, 36, had been charged with two counts of murder when he was arrested in March 2023. He eventually pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter as part […]

29 minutes ago

Bob Newhart, shown at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 10, 2016, died on July ...

Kevin Stone

Bob Newhart, deadpan master of sitcoms and phone monologues, dies at 94

Bob Newhart, the deadpan comedian who became one of the most popular television stars of his time, has died at 94.

43 minutes ago

Associated Press

Boy who was reported missing from a resort near Disney World found dead in water

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A 3-year-old boy who was reported missing from a resort near Walt Disney World in central Florida early Thursday was found dead in a body of water on the resort’s grounds several hours later, the sheriff’s office said. The boy was initially believed to have wandered away from the resort sometime […]

47 minutes ago

FILE - Pageant winners throw out beads during the Memphis PRIDE Festival & Parade, June 4, 2022, in...

Associated Press

Federal appeals court dismisses lawsuit over Tennessee’s anti-drag show ban

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit challenging first-in-the-nation law designed to place strict limits on drag shows, reversing a lower court ruling that deemed the statute unconstitutional and blocked its enforcement in part of the state. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Memphis-based LGBTQ+ […]

47 minutes ago

Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson, sixth from right, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg,...

Associated Press

Long Beach breaks ground on $1.5B railyard expansion at port to fortify US supply chain

LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other officials visited the port of Long Beach on Thursday to break ground on a $1.5 billion railyard expansion project that will more than triple the volume of rail cargo the dock can handle annually. Dubbed “America’s Green Gateway,” the project will expand the existing […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Probe finds carelessness caused Jewish student group’s omission from New Jersey high school yearbook