Rockland County, NY - State And Local East Ramapo Officials Hit With Lawsuit Over Lack Of Secular Education In Hasidic Yeshivas
Rockland County, NY - State education officials along with members of the East Ramapo Central District School Board and administrators from four yeshivas were hit with a class-action lawsuit on Friday by parents of current students and ex-yeshiva students who charge they are failing to provide adequate secular educations for boys.
LOHUD.com (http://lohud.us/1MGMGqa) reports that in a 42-page document filed U. S. Southern District Court in Manhattan on Friday, seven plaintiffs contend that the defendants named showed “willful blindness and deliberate refusal to acknowledge that yeshiva students need, require, and are legally entitled to, at the very least, a minimally adequate secular education in addition to their religious education.”
The suit further charges that four specific Hasidic yeshivas—-located in Monsey, Spring Valley, and New Square—-not only don’t teach English, but fail at providing children with “basic literacy, calculating, and verbal skills necessary to enable children to eventually function productively as civil participants.”
The suit, which was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by Advocates for Justice, is seeking a “gradual introduction” of secular studies by educators who are deemed “competent” in English instruction, as well as oversight from the state in enforcing a minimum of thee-hours daily of secular education.
Former yeshiva students who are part of the suit are seeking educational remediation program support as part of an award.
Named as defendants in the suit are Merryl Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, MaryEllen Elia Commissioner of the State Education Department New York, the State Department of Education, the New York Board of Regents and New York State.
Defendants also include the East Ramapo school district and the board of education.
The four yeshivas and administrators named as defendants are Yiedel Spitzer of the United Talmudical Academy in Spring Valley and Monsey; Moshe Kohn of Yeshiva Darkei Emunah in Spring Valley; Ernest Schwartz of Yeshiva Tzion Yosef in Spring Valley; and Eluzer Moshel and Dov Goldman of Yeshiva Avir Yakov in New Square
Laura Barbieri, an attorney with Advocates for Justice, said it took considerable time to pull the suit together due to fear from the plaintiffs that social pressure and retaliation from the tight-knit Hasidic community may be forthcoming.
Accordingly, the suit states, “They and their families risk being shunned or expelled from the community, having their businesses boycotted and ruined, suffering verbal threats and abuses, physical assault and property damage.”
Barbieri added, “In the East Ramapo Central school district, we primarily represent the parents and children of that district. We believe that they are being injured by the board and the district. Those individuals, those defendants, who we have charged with committing various infractions of the constitution, have taken their interests and used them in favor of the religious communities. And that puts the public school children at risk, particularly the quality of their education and the lack of sound, basic education that is resulting from the decisions the East Ramapo Central School District is making.”
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