Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Halacha Corner: Appointing Students as Mentors

 The Dilemma

In yeshivot no less so than in other schools, teachers of elementary grade classes occasionally leave the classroom for brief periods. When that occurs it is common for the teacher to leave an assignment and to appoint a student monitor to supervise performance of the assigned work and to assure that discipline is maintained. It is the monitor's duty to record misbehavior and to report occurrences of inappropriate conduct to the teacher when he/she returns to the classroom. The question that presents itself is whether the appointment of such a monitor and charging a monitor with such duties is prohibited by halacha. In reporting negative information regarding his/her classmates is the monitor guilty of transgressing the prohibition concerning lashon ha-ra or improper speech?

The issues raised by this question serve to illuminate aspects of the technical prohibition of lashon ha-ra but also highlights the concerns that accompany an educator's responsibility to mold character as well as to impart knowledge.

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