Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Investigating child abuse in Chabad schools - The Leonard Lopate Show


  1. There's a thread that seems to run through these kind of reports. People speak about how the abused may lack the "language" to describe the abuse.

    I will repeat what I've said before:

    We teach kids from a young age about Kashrus. We don't initially give them explanations. I believe we can teach kids about the issue of molestation, and of what constitutes molestation, without giving any explanation.

    Here is my comment from a previous post:

    Child abuse in schools can be reduced by taking some simple steps. These steps will be uncomfortable, but the benefits outweigh the losses.

    (1) Teachers are outfitted with GoPro or similar cameras that can be worn unobtrusively.

    (2) Teachers are required to carry a recording device, such as pen and paper, where they note any time they are isolated with a child. For example, if a child returns to class alone while other students are still at recess, this would be noted.

    (3) Students are trained from an early age to never be alone with a teacher.

    (4) A school ombudsman is appointed to accept reports from students. Students are trained from an early age to report to the ombudsman any time they have been alone with a teacher.

    Just making these rules would help because they would discourage pedophiles from teaching. Implementing these rules, I believe, would virtually eliminate abuse in schools.

    We teach kids not to eat unkosher food. We don't initially give them the underlying reason. It's not that difficult to teach students to avoid unkosher contact with adults.

  2. Why do you think Jewish schools like this one haven't implemented the ideas you propose? These are far from innovative, yet there seems to be no motivation to apply any changes like the ones you mention.

  3. I can't address your question at this point for any particular school. I would guess that some schools might want total control. My idea involves an ombudsman. That means a school has to cede some power to an outsider.

    So some schools may prefer to take a maximalist position and would rather passively be a party to a grave sin rather than give an inch.

  4. Whilst you admit that you can't answer for a particular school, it is strange that very few (any???) Jewish schools in the world are even considering any of the measures you suggest or similar ones.

    I would invite you to now share a list of ideas that could persuade these schools to change their current approach to abuse, an approach that clearly isn't working for victims.

    You have not provided a proper solution until you set out an achievable road from where we are today, to get to the end-state you already described.

  5. 100% agree with, and like, your approach:

    "You have not provided a proper solution until you set out an achievable road from where we are today, to get to the end-state you already described."

    That quote could be a mission statement for my own educational project. Years of trying to persuade schools to adopt some of my educational techniques, however, has led me to reluctantly start my own school. As Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn has taught me, in the name of the Chafetz Chaim, "You can't punch the darkness."

    So, I gain from the posts and the comments here by using them as a springboard for discussion. The action that leads from the words, at this point, is directed mostly towards my own Yeshiva, which is just starting, and which will certainly incorporate the ideas I've outlined.

    That being said, last night I spoke with the teacher running a Chol Hamoed mini-camp at the Shul here. I had overheard her complain about a parent who brought a child to the camp for the first time and that the parent started giving the teacher a really hard time until the teacher became alarmed by the parent's attitude, appearance, speech and behavior. Finally, scared, the teacher asked the parent to leave.

    The parent called an administrator and complained that the parent wasn't allowed to bring the child to the camp. The teacher was catching flack from upper management for not being totally accommodating.

    I told the teacher about the idea of wearing a GoPro camera in the future so that she could back up her version of the events with a video record.

    To summarize: I intend to buy a GoPro and use it myself and lend it to other teachers, and from this small beginning perhaps build up the momentum to jumpstart a movement here to use this kind of technology to address abuse in schools.

  6. When i went to school, the various schools were basically answerable to the parents.

    Today, schools (and yeshivot) are private businesses, answerable to no one but the owner (the owner is often called rosh yeshiva; occasionally he (rarely a she) has a different title. Even elementary schools nowadays have a RY.) Proof is (besides governance), the ownership is always hereditary.


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