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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Horrifying. . .And, yes, Hold The Tuition

A link to this thread on Imamother came through my Google Alerts. A mother has an 8th grade son who is being bullied. No, this isn't your run of the mill teasing or even rough housing. The boy has suffered damage to orthodontia (I never broke any orthodontia, and if anyone would have been able to pull off that feat, I guarantee you, it would have been me) and had a chair thrown at his head, both incidences requiring doctors visits. The boy has been locked in a closet during recess. Additionally, when the boy stood up to give a presentation in class, he was laughed every time he went to speak, and eventually the teacher just asked him to sit down. Oh, and the menahel is not returning messages now.

What is the mother's question: should she stop payment to the school (a step she labels as "super-drastic"), especially before high school applications have gone out.

My long time readers know the one crisis I have been certain exists is a "parenting crisis" or perhaps a "sechel crisis." If you read the responses to this mother you should be able to see this crisis is *not* imaginary.

Other women seem to agree that it best to lay low until high school acceptances are out. Another woman recommends perhaps sending him to an Out of Town Yeshiva (I'd say the last thing you should do is take a kid who has been bullied since Kindergarten and send him out of town to dorm where your contact with him will be limited and where, quite frankly, there will be a new set of animals to deal with!!!). First, put first things first. Where a kid ends up for high school is not important at this very point in time. Quite frankly, you'd be better off finding the best public option out there and enrolling your child there. I went to public schools from 1st grade on, including one summer school program for which there was a daily fist fight, and I cannot imagine administration not acting, especially after a visit from the parent(s). I believe the teachers and administrators were l'sheim shomayim when it came to combating bullying and violence, but at the very least they understood the word LAW$SUIT.

Second, stop outsourcing chinuch. The reason the parents sent to this school was based on the reputation of a "stronger" limudei kodesh program. The principal of the school has recommended social skills training for the boy and that the mother should dress him in "cool clothes" (both suggestions other mothers agree with). Is it not obvious that the school is ill prepared to handle chinuch, reputation notwithstanding? I had my fair share of incidences of bullying growing up (nothing like what is taking place here), and in each and every incidence that became public, the instigator had his/her feet held to the fire. Not once was I told to get a new wardrobe, and it might have been nice to be slightly more in style. Also, "in my day" parents didn't just contact the school when they needed to step in (and parents weren't particularly prone to step in either!). If there were real issues, they made some of their own calls to other parents. Naturally, you will run into a parent that seems to believe in the "Lord of the Flies" method of chinuch. We eliminated one school because too many parents and teachers we have had contact with seem to believe in this method of child rearing.

Third, many of the mothers seem to believe that bullying is a lifelong problem, so he might as well learn to deal with it. This sentiment says a lot more about the insular communities "we" live in than it does about life. My own experience, and that of others I have spoken to, indicates that bullying reaches its high point around the middle school years and continues to lessen as each year goes by. Sure, there are bad bosses and bosses that bully. But, bullying should not be a lifetime problem. And if people view it as such, it is time to take a good hard look in the mirror because something is terribly wrong. And, yes, something is terribly wrong. It seems we have a number of adult bullies prominently situated as is clearly indicated by the comments of what could happen should the mother call the police, what could happen if the parents stop paying tuition vis a vis high school admissions.

Just to make one thing very clear, I am a bit of a tougher parent and I tend to think this generation of parents is over protective, denying their children some valuable opportunities to work out some issues on their own, experience disappointment, and grow a bit tougher. But this is horrifying and a parent that stands by worrying about tuition and high school admissions is negligent. My blood boils reading this threads. Have we lost all sechel? High school admissions, worrying if it is proper to withhold tuition, warnings about mesirah should the mother call the cops re: physical assault. Feh!

Regarding withholding tuition. . . . . I don't even see the question. It is a basic responsibility of a school to provide a safe environment where a child can be educated. The breach of contract happened when the desk hit your son's head, when the teacher told your son to sit down rather than deal with his classmates who heckled him every time he tried to speak, and when the principal suggested "cool clothing." There is very good reason to pursue legal action against the school and receive a judgement for all tuition paid + medical, dental, and therapy. The school should be so lucky that you are only considering pulling him out.

Leave turning the cheek to other religions and nip this in the bud. You can file this under the strange worship of yeshivot.


efrex said...

The incident is certainly a blood-boiler, but I think the majority of the thread posts show reasonable sechel.

What I personally found horrifying is the last point, that this woman is seriously concerned about the yeshiva "bad-mouthing me to the high schools." Any high school that would reject my child because I was vocal about his bullies is a high school that I have no interest sending him to. The complete loss of individuality and bowing to public opinion in our community is outright terrifying.

Anonymous said...

I was telling a mother of older children how not only is my son's public elementary school run more professionally than the yeshiva, but the atmosphere is more caring and nurturing, too.

I expected her to be surprised and push back, but she just said "it's always going to be that way".

LeahGG said...

I was actually having that discussion with friends a few days ago. If the school won't deal with the bullying which the school obviously isn't, I would move the child to public school. At least in public school, the school won't kowtow to the bullies.

The kid may not get any more popular, but my experience is that the bigger the school, the more likely a kid is to find some sort of niche. My worst year of school was when I was in a class of 14.

When I was in a grade of 120+ in high school, I was terribly unpopular, but still had a few friends, and that was fine. When there was one child in high school who bullied me (verbally only - and got away with it) it pretty much slid off me because I had friends who told me he was a jerk.

Thinking said...

Unfortunately, (and this is just me reading between the lines) it seems like the boy has the same victim tendencies as the parents have. How do you have all these things happen to your child and not show up, personally with your spouse at the school the next day? Your only recourse is stopping payment? This boy is unable to stand up for himself and have the confidence to do anything because that is what he sees in his parents.

I have had to deal with some of these very same items with my children. You better believe that the very next day I was there, at the school, demanding some accountability. I was not just doing this for myself or the safety and well being of my children, I was doing it because I wanted my kids to see that it is ok to stand up for yourself and demand to be treated properly. I was calm and refused to accept anything less than what I felt was the right response on the school's part. It works.

If you are a paying customer of the school you have the right to demand to be treated fairly. Would you accept mediocrity from any other service provider? Do not accept less, you're not doing anyone any favors. Including your kids.

Anonymous said...

If you are a paying customer of the school you have the right to demand to be treated fairly.

It has nothing to do with being a paying customer. If a school has agreed to educate your child (public, private, or full scholarship status not withstanding), the child has a right not only to education but physical safety. I don't know how we can call ourselves civilized if we can't provide our kids with physical safety.

Anonymous said...

Bullying can negatively affect a child for years, and even into adulthood. The schools should have a zero tolerance policy and training for adminstrators and faculty on how to detect and address bullying. There is a big campaign in the public schools across my state to stop bullying. I hope this is not another situation where the religious schools lag behind public schools in admitting there is a problem and addressing it (after all, good little jewish boys and girls don't do those things), as happened with issues of sexual abuse.

ProfK said...

I'm with Thinking on this. The only real "action" the mom is taking is complaining on a blog? Why?! Worried about high school acceptance?! Worry about the child first! I'd be down there immediately and you bet my kid would know that I value him more than I value some ludicrous worry about what "they" would say.

NYC has a zero tolerance policy on bullying in the schools. Yeshivas are supposed to be governed by this as well. If the school refuses to listen or change its way of treating the child then what is this parent waiting for? There are BOE people to talk to, and yes lawyers as well. Or how about this--tell the school you are taking them to a Bet Din and then do so.

And yes, I can see where this is parallel to the problem of sexual abuse in the yeshivas. Great approach they have. First, blame the victim and next, pretend it didn't happen and sweep it under the rug. If you do nothing maybe it will go away.

Miami Al said...

Physical bullying, for boys, is a BIG problem in the middle school years. My top notch public middle school was a violent place, even in the gifted/honors classes, it's the nature of that age range.

The exception, of course, was the private schools. The kids may be no nicer, but they had 0 tolerance policies that worked because a child was thrown out for bullying.

Whether a child feared the consequences, parents with $18k paid in (equivalent now, then probably $8k-$10k) that had their kids tossed would probably take it seriously. That's some real "skin in the game" to enforce school policies.

Then again, private schooling was an expensive privilege, not a right, and a school expelling a child for disrupting others wouldn't be worried about "where will the child go."

However, if you are more concerned with the bullies being in public school than controlling it, you have a problem.

The public school system is having SOME success with the zero-tolerance campaigns for bullying, making the school a safer place.

It is OUTRAGEOUS that the Day Schools lag the public school instead of competing with the top private schools, and parents should demand better.

Anonymous said...

Miami Al: I agree it is outrageous, particular when it is a religious school that is supposed to be teaching kids compassion for other and how to control oneself. I don't understand how a school that would never tolerate an adolescent boy bringing in a lunch that wasn't 100% kosher or a mom who dropped off her kids wearing shorts and a tank top can tolerate abusive behavior.

JS said...

Wow did this make me angry. As someone who was bullied as a child, especially in middle school, this brought back a lot of bad memories. The bullying I experienced was not nearly this terrible - it was mostly teasing, taunting, and pushing into lockers. But, the response from the school was similar - mostly because the main boy who was involved's parents were major donors to the yeshiva.

My parents had the attitude of trying to let us kids sort things out on our own, but when that didn't work they went to the principal. The principal told my parents that the boy (bully) came from such a good family and they all have such wonderful midot that it's hard to believe their son would do such a thing. They were also told that such teasing is normal for kids our age and that they weren't there to police every minor incident. In the end my parents told me that given the school's response I should feel free to hit the kid back if he touches me again. It never escalated to that point, but the message was loud and clear from the yeshiva.

I'd say it was an isolated incident, but the same thing happened in a summer camp. I was being bullied and the camp wouldn't do anything (again, bully involved had parents who were big machers in the community). This time I did hit the kid after he started pushing me around - punched him right in the face so hard he fell back, knocked his head, and was out cold. Of course I was dragged in front of the camp director and my parents were brought in. The director started the whole "he's such a good from such a good family routine" and my parents said me and my siblings wouldn't be returning to camp next year.

Kids need to know that when all else fails and the whole world is against them, their parents will be there in their corner. Fears of high school acceptance, shidduchim, etc are all secondary (at best) to your kids.

Anonymous said...

Do any of the day schools/yeshivas have written policies about bullying? Do they hold assemblies to discuss bullying? Are any anti-bullying measures part of the curriculum?

JS said...

I'd also add that it is this kind of attitude in the yeshivas that make me think it's a big waste of money. All I ever hear about from kids and parents is bullying, destruction of school property, disrespect for teachers and rabbis, etc.

I don't understand what they're teaching in these schools. I always thought derech eretz kadma l'torah.

It's oxymoronic that you can have a yeshiva with excellent limudei kodesh with complete vilda chayas as students.

Anonymous said...

In public school the kids have a curriculum in "family life" starting in kindergarten. (It's not the sex-ed that right wingers scream about when they discuss the immoral public schools). Kids are taught about their feelings, safety, hygiene, etc. They're taught to speak up when something doesn't feel right. I wish our yeshivas were enlightened enough to offer this curriculum (though I know there's no money or time). For a kid, being taught they he or she has self-worth is so important.

concernedjewgirl said...

The real problem here is parenting.
This person is showing her child not only that there is nothing that she 'can' do but also that she values everyone else's opinions rather than the BASIC safety and security of her child. I would be SHOCKED if this child did not roll off the derech and run far far away from it!
Yes I am religious but that doesn't mean that I have no rights for basic safety and education! TUITION THAT IS HER CONCERN?? HONESTLY. I understand that my baby now is too young for any of this thank g-d but you better believe it that I would do everything in my power to protect her. What is this with waiting till the next day to deal with something like this!!! You are telling me you don't have phone numbers of principals and teachers? This woman would rather take her baby to the emergency room then protect him against a BULLY? Not only does her son need psychological help but clearly so does she!
As a parent your main job is to protect your child...everything else is secondary.

Anonymous said...

Concernedjewgirl: Sadly, some parents think they are "protecting" their children by not interfering with their chances of getting into the "right" high school so the child and the siblings can then get the "right" shidduch.

Miami Al said...

Limudei Kodesh at this school (and the one you describe) is crap. Otherwise, the Principal would know better than to condone violence against a student.

An engineering professor of mine was dealing with students whining about partial credit after an exam. He looked at the class and said, "Engineers that get partial credit build bridges than fall down." We all sad their silently and took that in.

What is the equivalent of Jews that can cite the halachot of behavior towards fellow man and fellow Jew, while slamming a child in the head with a desk or condoning it and telling the victim of violence to wear "cooler clothes" -- presumably the latest gentile fashions.

If that principal was eating a tuna sub from Subway, we'd say he wasn't Frum. But what does condoning violence against another Jew under his charge make him?

concernedjewgirl said...

Anonymous 10:51am

I understand what you are trying to say. But, to me it all sounds like excuses. Not only that, I want to reiterate my point of this kid just not wanting to be on a derech that allows such abuse!
Also, is nobody afraid of a Columbine type of reaction?

N said...

I wanted to comment to indicate strong agreeement with ProfK's comment above.

I have a friend who has a brother who attends a prominent right-wing Yeshiva in Brooklyn that has allegedly employed an abusive teacher for years. I have urged my friend to strongly urge her parents to withdraw their son, her brother. My argument has been that at a minimum we should expect our schools to try to keep our children safe (whether from sexual abuse by teachers or physical abuse from other students). A school or Yeshiva that, through their actions, says that they care more about protecting an abuser than the abused does not deserve our children -- even if the entire Moetzed Gedolei HaTorah is on the faculty. Ultimately, I expect a school to protect my children. Period. If they won't do that, i.e. as a matter of policy they chhose to cover up abuse for appearence sake, then how can a parent who loves their child enroll them in the school? I guess my friends parents don't love their son more enough to rock the boat.

It is sad that supposed frumkeit and appearences and threats to shidduch status cause people to sacrifice their children. I suppose their was also a lot of pressure for people to sacrifice their children to the Molech in order to fit in with the cool avodah zara crowd....

Offwinger said...

It's a shame that the mother is more worried about getting the child into high school than stopping the violence now. It's also horrifying that yeshivahs don't adopt a zero tolerance approach to bullying.

However, there is a right way and a wrong way to stand up for your children, especially as they get older. The son needs to be included in the process of finding a solution to the bullying, not overridden by a protective mama bear. If he has serious concerns about going to the principal and 'tattling' (and given the attitude from this school, I don't blame him), then Mom doesn't do her child any favors by complaining louder.

Lion of Zion said...

this is heartbreaking

i recently heard of a bullying case in my son's school on the bus. the school couldn't/wouldn't do anything. solution? parents had to pull the kid from the bus.

on the other hand, my wife's friend's kid was being bullied by a particular kid. school wouldn't/couldn't do anything about it. finally the father went over to the kid in shul and told him in no uncertain terms that if he ever bullies him again, he (the father) will put him through a wall.
naturally the kid went crying to his own father who confronted the original father. he acknolwedged he had threatened the bully kid and added that if the father gets in his way, he's also going through a wall.

bullying stopped that day.

i hope i'd have the guts to follow the latter example.

by way of comparison, the public school where my wife works would never put up with any of this. but then ago, what does public school know about teaching בין אדם לחבירו

Lion of Zion said...

but then ago = but then again

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Parshat Mishpatim is upon us.

Broken teeth? Assaulted with a chair? This is criminal! The Torah says so. The law of the land says so. What the h*ll is the matter with everybody?! When did we stop thinking that innocent people, our children included, deserve protections?!

I believe in kids working things out and learning how to cope, but not when there is physical injury and victimization involved. No way, no how.

The parents of the offenders should be required to make restitution. Through the means of a court, if need be. Dental care should be paid for by the offender's parents. The offending child should be required to make public apology. The school administration should be required to make restitution and public apology.

If the school will not back the victim, then the a complaint should be filed with the police. A rav and a lawyer should be consulted about civil action, and the perps' (that's what they are) parents should be put on notice.

Not only is there a victim here who needs to know that Hashem's Torah promotes and demands civil society as a foundation. There are also little criminals here who are going to grow up to be bigger criminals if they don't get the message about social and physical assault being a CRIME in the eyes of our holy Torah.

I taught in Jewish schools for many years. The few times I witnessed such outrageous behavior, I physically intervened. I even advised one student to call the police if she was grabbed again.

Ari/Lion of Zion has it right. If our society refuses to protect and discipline our children properly, we must do so.

Sephardi Lady, your last paragraph is right on!

concernedjewgirl said...

Lion of Zion
I am positive with not one ounce of reservation that if g-d forbid I was put in this situation I would have ZERO issue with dealing with the kid OR THE fact I'd prefer to deal with both of them!
If your child is being physically or emotionally abused there should be NOTHING holding you back from protecting them.

LeahGG said...

I'd probably pull my kid from the school. My parents tried to deal with the administration at a school where I was badly bullied, got no response, and moved me to public school. If nothing else, it told me that my parents didn't think I needed to pay to be treated like garbage.

aaron from L.A. said...

Problem with bullies?Spend a few bucks on a martial arts class for your child.A bully who gets his nose bloodied will leave your kid alone. Even better "V'chol yisrael yishm'u v'yira'u."

Lion of Zion said...

i read through the thread quickly and saw she wrote: "Dh and I have a plan. They don't know what's about to hit them, but it's not going to be good for them. They are going to be compelled to get their hands dirty and fix this, or dire consequences await the hanhala and the school." i'm on the edge of my seat, but she doesn't tell of her plan (or if it was executed).

i thought most of the commenters were sensitive and sensible, except for the idiots advising her not to do certain things without first consulting daas torah

and all the other stories of bullying in the comments were so sad.

MH said...

Go to the police. Press charges. It takes it out of the hands of the school and elevates it.

Under the best circumstances, the child(ren) responsible are removed from the school. If the authorities do it, they are removed in handcuffs. Sends a message--a powerful one--that this kind of behavior is not tolerated by civilized society.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this falls under the doctor's mandatory reporting requirements, or does that only apply if the suspected abuser is an adult? Come to think of it, doesn't the school also have mandatory reporting obligations?

Lion of Zion said...


"doesn't the school also have mandatory reporting obligations?"

in ny private schools are not subject to mandatory reporting laws, employees are not fingerprinted, etc.

ProfK said...

Correct, but hospitals and doctors are required to do that reporting for any suspected abuse cases, and bullying qualifies as abuse when it results in physical injury. Two suspicious injuries in one year are going to raise red flags all over the place. Years ago when my son was 14 he and a friend in school were playing a really stupid dare game about slamming a door on a hand. Yeah, I got a call from the school that my son was going to need to see a doctor asap. This was the second time in two months that we were going to make the trip--the first time was an injury received playing ball at a neighbors house. What I got from the school on official stationery was a note explaining that the injury was as the result of an accident that happened in school. Sure enough, I took him to the emergency room of a local hospital and don't think they weren't asking all kinds of questions--I gave them the note, they checked with the school,they asked my son what happened, and I, as parent, and the school went off the radar as having to be checked out for possible abuse.

What story did this mother tell her emergency health care providers that could explain the injuries to her child? If she told the truth, the providers had to file reports. If she didn't tell them the truth, then she is just as guilty as the one who injured her son.

dvorak613 said...

I don't know where anyone gets the idea that the public schools are any better. I am going for my masters in adolescent psychology/counseling and I have been doing fieldwork in a NYC public school since September. The cruelty that goes on is unspeakable; bullies savagely beat their victims senseless; they stab with switchblades and burn with cigarette lighters. And yes, the school has policies, but little, if anything, is ever enforced.

I wonder if this is maybe a generational thing, with all the violence that kids today are exposed to (then again, with regards to the yeshiva, if it is that RW, the kids presumably don't have TVs and X-boxes). In any event, I am appalled that yeshiva students can act in this manner and get away with it. This mother should pull her child out IMMEDIATELY and sue the school for her money back.

My father, who worked in customer service for many years, always says that whenever you are paying for something, you are a client- and this includes education. In fact, during my first semester of college, I had an issue that required administrative attention and the school repeatedly brushed me off. My father advised me to inform that that I was paying them good money to educate me, and if I felt that I wasn't getting my money's worth, there were plenty of other colleges that I could take my business to. When I told them that, they suddenly had the time and the resources to address the issue. OUR YESHIVAS ARE NO DIFFERENT! YOU are paying THEM, and if they aren't doing their job of teaching the kids to be mentschen and keeping them physically safe, then tell them that you WILL send your tuition dollars to a place that will render a better service. Chances are, you may not have to follow through (although you still might want to...)

Anonymous said...

Dvorak, not every public school is the same. Parents who care about their children's education go to great lengths to choose communities with excellent public schools. Disadvantaged children, unfortunately, are disadvantaged everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Again, I would say re being a paying client: would a child on full scholarship be entitled to any less protection?

Lion of Zion said...


"would a child on full scholarship be entitled to any less protection"

of course not. but parents on scholarship whose kids are bullied might be afraid to complain lest they find their scholarship has been reduced.


remember, public school quality (just like with yeshivas) runs the gamut. my wife happens to work in a public school in brooklyn that is better than any local yeshivah by every measure (obviously excepting limudei kodesh). this includes includes efforts to inculcate derech eretz. i will ask her to verify tomorrow, but i'm pretty confident that in the 9 years she's been there, there has never been a case of a student burning another student with cigarettes or stabbing with a switchblade. and if there would be such a case tomorrow, you can bet that the principal would not stand for this behavior (or a teacher who looked the other way)

andrea said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Shoshana Z. said...

Dr. Gordon Neufeld has some of the best material out there on bullying. I highly recommend purchasing his dvd called "Bullies - Their Making and Unmaking." Here is the link:
Scroll almost to the bottom of the page and you will see it.

observer said...

I have some thoughts on this.

Firstly, the idea that the public schools are such wonderful safe places is, unfortunately, a total myth. There is a reason why most NYC public schools actually have a serious police presence in the schools. And, NYC is not the only city with this kind of problem. Yes, things ARE getting better, but it quite literally means getting the police in; I was sitting in a meeting with a NYC HS principal the other day when someone walked in and showed him a paper. The principal responded crisply and ended by saying "And tell them that if this happens again, we're calling the police and they will leave with the police." You can be sure that "they" didn't provoke that kind of reaction by nothing more serious than mouthing of to a teacher.

Secondly, I totally agree with the folks who say that the parents are out of their minds. I've had to deal with a couple of incidents of bullying (nothing this bad, B"H), and I can't imagine reacting like this mother.

In one case, my son reacted fairly badly, and nearly caused serious damage (he was being "gang teased" but being touched) When the Rebbi called me about it, I let him have it. He did try to defend himself by saying that he and another Rebbi gave the boys involved a mussar shmuez afterward about ganging up on another kid, but I asked him "What do you think the kids are paying more attention to - what you said later or your actions on the spot when you let the bullying go on?" He had enough brains to shut up. I also sent a letter to the principal about the matter and said much the same thing - and my son was not punished.

On another occasion I had a conversation with another Rebbi who responded to my complaint about my son's being bullied (a different one) by telling me that his social skills were lacking. I told him plainly that I would have expected that kind response from a sheigetz not a frum yid, much less a mechanch. After all, none of the halachos of proper behavior have a clause exempting people from treating "wierdos" etc properly. I also asked him why, since he and other staff see that the kid has some lack in social skills, why they had not bothered to give the kid some guidance. He actually stammered and stuttered - and backed off of the issue he had called about.

The bottom line is that the parents need to protect the kid and speak plainly to the administration.

Lastly, and NOT to excuse the principal, because he should have done his part anyway, but he did have some good suggestions. I've never been into "cool" clothes for myself or my kids, but if a kid is being hassled, anything you can do to boost his self confidence should be done. If that means better clothes, so be it. And, studies do show that kids who are the victims of bullying are frequently deficient in their social skills - it's one of the things that makes them "easy" targets. So, get him the guidance he needs, and switch him to a new school where he does not have a "history" - and where there IS an administration that takes its basic responsibility seriously.

Parents - this is YOUR kid. You need to do whatever it takes to get him on track. That means advocating for him, getting him the guidance and teaching he needs, and putting him in the right environment. A "strong" limudie kodesh program is not going to do him much good if he is going to associate it with the kind of torture he is going through.

Lastly, the school staff involved is, in my opinion, going to have to give a din vecheshbon to "someone" much greater than any of us. The idea of responding to a class acting so outrageously by giving it to it is simply nauseating. And for a principal to back it, and refuse to reign in the other bullying is even worse.

Anonymous said...

This post is hashgacha pratis. My son was assaulted in his right-wing yeshiva dorm last week for the second time this year. He said the wrong thing to a kid and was hit in the eye, has lacerations on his forehead. Worse, he was held down and poked in the butt (clothed) and called gay.

The menahel has done nothing. He told my husband "it's just boys." There is NO dorm supervision during the day. We are outraged by the lack of concern from the school. In fact, they are trying to make us seem like over-protective parents.

I'm so ashamed to say we were considering sending him back to finish the year as we don't want to send him out-of-state, or home-school, but after reading this, it is clear. We're pulling him out immediately. His yeshiva career may be over for mesivta (he's 15), but he will learn REAL Yiddishkeit with caring tutors.

I have to say, I have slept better having him home for the last week than I have all year. That should tell me something. This has been the worst experience for us and has given me such a feeling of revulsion for the frum community that supports this Chillul Hashem.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, the idea that the public schools are such wonderful safe places is, unfortunately, a total myth.

Why would I believe a myth? My knowledge of public schools is firsthand, not based on stories thrown about in a frum community where people think everything frum is better.

And judging from the comment below yours, it looks like some yeshivas could benefit from a police presence, too.

Anonymous said...

The mother herself is too concerned about external appearances. Otherwise, she would have pulled her son out YEARS ago. THIS IS YOUR CHILD. I would have ben in the school DAILY making sure I was heard and changes made. To be most worried about high school acceptance. So go to a different one. If your child would be happy, who cars whatthe neighbors say. Clearly he (and the classmates) are not getting the education they need.
I would call the families. While they may be wealthy and "protected" many would be horrified to learn how their child is behaving. And if she is worried about repercussions, it cant get any worse.
On a side point, the impression I am getting from the comments is that it is worse in the "RW" schools. That is because the majority are run by unqualified people. I have great respect and admiration for Talmidei Chachmim, but just because you know Shas, that DOESNT make you an educator. IN the "MO" schools you have many more professionally trained educators who understand the damage bullying causes. The schools cost more, but they are more involved. (I know they have along way to go still)
Lastly, while unfortunate, dont underestimate the idea of theatening to pull kids out/lose tuition. Prncipals and boards are terrified of the publicity. If word is spread that families left a school because of bullying, enrollment will drop and the school will be in trouble

Miami Al said...

Down here in Deerfield Beach, a child got into a fight with a neighbor over a video game and a bike. The kid didn't pay for the video game, so the other kids came to take his bike, and he called the police (or his sister did, conflicting stories came out).

The kids, retalliating, poured rubbing alcohol on him and set him on fire. The only reason that he's alive is he jumped in a pool and a neighbor called 911. He has SEVERE burns all over his body, spent months in the hospital, and faces years of rehab/recovery.

Violent and terrible behavior, including bullying, takes place everywhere.

Nobody should suggest that the public schools are safe, wonderful, nurturing places. Having been in them for 10 years, they are generally impersonal, unsupervised, and poorly funded.

The fact that your expensive private school fails to measure up to the standards set by the public school system is a TOTAL DISGRACE. It is a DISGRACE that the people that were the Bankers and Lawyers of Europe because they were literate when the gentiles were illiterate and considered people "of the book" have allowed their children to be this poorly educated.

The fact that these schools are filled is a total disgrace. There shouldn't be ANY Jewish parents willing to subject their children to this.

Throwing desks, lacerations, pretending to sodomize someone, THIS is Yiddishkeit?

Dave said...

Nobody should suggest that the public schools are safe, wonderful, nurturing places. Having been in them for 10 years, they are generally impersonal, unsupervised, and poorly funded.

I don't see how you can make that statement.

Some of them are certainly impersonal, unsupervised, and poorly funded.

Some of them are well supervised and well-funded.

It all depends on the school and the school system in question.

dvorak613 said...

Tesyaa- you're right that my example doesn't work for a family on full scholarship; while of course they have the right to demand better, the unfortunate reality is that they would be brushed off. Nothing's stopping them though (other than fear) of publicizing what's going on and tarnishing the school's reputation.

Lion: How big is the school your wife works in? My school is not considered particularly 'bad' or 'inner city' (although about 70% of kids do receive free or reduced-price lunch)but it is HUGE, with nearly 8000 students, so that may be why not enough gets done about the violence. And yes, we do have a police presence.

Neither I nor my husband remember this kind of cruelty going on when when we were in school, so it really may be a generational thing- a combination of exposure to violence, parents being afraid to punish their kids, and poorly trained mechanchim (in the RW schools). But then again, I can't imagine that THAT much has changed in the less than five years since we've graduated from high school, and I can't imagine that kids in a more RW yeshiva are playing violent video games and watching violent TV shows. Although we are only expecting our first, we do run in more RW circles (although most people can't really figure us out) and would be sending our kids to RW schools. I guess we now have a lot more than tuition to worry about...

Also, re: the part about the cool clothes: if the school is so RW, isn't everyone wearing white shirts and dark pants? What constitutes 'cool clothes'?

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Anonymous said...

Our son with a learning disability was ignored in the MO day school resource room in favor of kids with connections and money. The general studies principal even ridiculed him at one faculty meeting until a teacher stood up for him. We can't assume that any variety of school, Jewish or public, is immune from the effects of lax administration. The personnel make the difference.

Orthonomics said...

Staff is key! Anonymous-What did you do after your son was ignored and ridiculed?

Anonymous said...

We transferred him to another yeshiva (this one black hat) after eighth grade ended, and also moved our other kids out of there to other Jewish schools at the same time.

The people at the new yeshiva treated him very well. His program included many of the regular classes plus tutoring (my parents paid for this) by a local kollel rabbi during a free period.

His classmates gave him an ovation when he received his HS diploma. They knew he was really trying.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that about 14 years ago when my son was in first grade he was being bullied on the bus by an older boy. I complained and the yeshiva did step in and stopped the bullying. I don't think we should say that all chareidi schools are bad and allow bullying. Parents should use their own brains even if that means pulling your kids out right away and tutoring or putting them into public schools. Don't assume that because somebody looks religious he's religious!!!!

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