Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Were They Expelled? A Second - and Closer Look

Guest Post

Last Friday, I posted about an incident in a school which resulted in the reported expulsion of some high school girls from a Beis Yaakov in Jerusalem. It was based on a post on another respectable blog, The Muqata and written by the blog-owner who is known as Jameel.

Earlier today I received an e-mail from a parent in that school who actually has a daughter in that class. I asked her if I could post her words and she has graciously given me permission to do so. She asked only that I not disclose her identity. She wishes to remain anonymous and I am going to honor her request. What follows are her words:

Girls expelled for non-kosher cellphone use? Not exactly, folks. Remember, you can't believe everything you read in the papers (or on the Internet).

This non-event actually took place in my daughter's classroom last week. (She's in grade 13--first year of professional track--not grade 12. This means that the girls are 18 and 19 years old--hardly children--and that their parents are paying ridiculously overpriced tuition for bad professional training. This alsomeans that the school does *not* want to expel them. That would be like killing the goosethat laid the golden eggs.)

The girl who received the text message did not have her phone confiscated. The fuss started becausethe girls disrupted class upon hearing the news (which they should have been mature enough not to do), and the teacher (very foolishly, in my opinion) called the mashgiach ruchani into the classroom to bawl them out (which he, very foolishly, in my opinion, did.)

He then demanded that the girls who had brought cellphones to school (which is forbidden by school rules, even for kosher phones) hand them over on the spot. Only one girl (of the many whose phones were in the room) complied and he went through the girl's list of numbers (which might be, at the very least, an issur derabanan, in my opinion.) I don't know if he returned the phone, but if he didn't, that is almost certainly an issur de'oraita.

Everyone was called on the carpet and bawled out and that was about it.And yes, the takanon (charter) of the school requires parents of students, as well as students, to own only kosher phones, which doesn't bother me in the least personally because I can barely handle the technology involved in using a kosher cellphone (though I am aware that many parents are justifiably ticked off about this since they like phones that can perform a variety of functions.)

For what it's worth, I think it's perfectly reasonable for the school to require girls to leave cell phones at home, or at the very least, to make sure they are completely turned off--not vibrating or receiving textmessages--during school hours. I would also add that, as a parent, I prefer that my children have kosher cellphones.

Educationally, this stupid episode was yet another case of bad judgement on the part of a semi- hysterical, totally tyrannical hanhala. Unfortunately, the girls are used to this already, which meant that they were not, for the most part, bent out of shape about it.