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New York - Jewish Schools in NY Ignore Fingerprint Checks

Published on: May 30, 2010 08:45 AM
By: VIN News/ NY Post
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New York - Fewer than 1 percent of the state’s 1,900 private schools run fingerprint checks on job applicants to screen for sex offenses and other criminal behavior, The Post has learned.

Statewide, only 17 private schools have submitted fingerprints since a 2007 law granted them the right, says the state Education Department.

Unlike public schools, private schools are not required by law to do extensive background checks. The 2007 law stopped short of making it mandatory.

There are approximately 380 private Jewish schools in New York State, attended by about 124,000 children.

Yet, in nearly three years, only one Jewish school, the North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck, has submitted fingerprints to SED.

Fingerprinting is a far more reliable way than a simple name check to look for priors, said lawyer Elliot Pasik, a member of an advocacy group that wants Albany to require all schools to fingerprint.

“Many do run applicants’ names, but there are a lot of mistakes with that. People can give false identities, for example. It’s very imperfect,” said Pasik, who filed a (PDF) Freedom of Information request with the state to find out which private schools ran fingerprints since 2007.

But state officials note that, so far, none of the background checks run by the Education Department for private schools has yielded an applicant with a criminal history.

According to a press release issued by Pasik Shortly after the optional nonpublic school background check law passed, a national umbrella group of yeshivas, Torah U’Mesorah, issued a memorandum in July 2007 to all of its approximate 700 member yeshivas urging them to do employee background checks.  The memo notified them about the new law in New York State.  Torah U’Mesorah is strongly connected to Agudath Israel of America, a national group dominated by ultra-orthodox rabbis.

Notwithstanding that memo, it now appears that the optional background check law is being largely ignored.  The one yeshiva taking advantage of it, North Shore Hebrew Academy, is considered a modern orthodox school.

Neither Torah U’Mesorah nor Agudath Israel are known to be auditing the yeshivas for determining whether background checks are being performed, nor sanctioning them for failure to do so.

Of concern to advocates and parents is that the Catholic school system in New York is virtually 100 per cent compliant with a system of doing background checks based on names, through a private company, Choicepoint.  Torah U’Mesorah and Agudath Israel have not established such a system.


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Read Comments (45)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 30, 2010 at 09:49 AM Dag Says:

We have given the Yeshivas plenty of time to do the right thing. Time for Markey

2

 May 30, 2010 at 10:17 AM judith Says:

They are still in the mindset of "It can't be one of us".

3

 May 30, 2010 at 10:12 AM Anonymous Says:

Neither Aguda or Tora Umsorah have auditing capability or relationships with jewish schools. They have at most only cursury relationships. They exchange memos. But that it.

4

 May 30, 2010 at 10:30 AM Anonymous Says:

Lets not complicte the matter. All it will take is a simple letter from gadolei yisroel to all chassideshe and litvashe yeshivot and beis yaakovs (and shuls that run preschool programs) saying that any teacher, assistant, janitor etc. i.e. ANYONE who goes near our yinglach must undergo a full background check with the authorities including fingerprints. No exceptions, even for rabbonim who are regarded as big talmeidi chacamim or who are "vouched for" by a chushive rav. Zero tolereance for anyone with ANY prior conviction of any kind of innapproriate behavior. If this serves to prevent even one tragic case of abuse, than whatever the cost of such checks will be worthwhile.

5

 May 30, 2010 at 10:32 AM Anonymous Says:

Stop with the non sense. Who needs this. Frum yiden will not do what the goy sad to do. We are yiden and we do what the thora sad to do.
That's history how jews against jews always acted. And they will act in the future. And that why we pray daily vlamalshnim. Its a prayer against sinful jews and jews who think they know better from our old rabbis. So history continues and we will deal with that the same way our old rabbis dealt with it

6

 May 30, 2010 at 10:38 AM RTJ Says:

Thank you, attorney Pasik, for not letting this issue die. This gives the lie, once again, to Agudah's claims that things have changed.

7

 May 30, 2010 at 11:01 AM Anonymous Says:

can someone with some insight give us a reason or two why the frum schools would not adapt to finger printing? isnt thier goalbto keep kids as safe as possible? i smell a guge cover up here

8

 May 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Stop with the non sense. Who needs this. Frum yiden will not do what the goy sad to do. We are yiden and we do what the thora sad to do.
That's history how jews against jews always acted. And they will act in the future. And that why we pray daily vlamalshnim. Its a prayer against sinful jews and jews who think they know better from our old rabbis. So history continues and we will deal with that the same way our old rabbis dealt with it

How does doing a background check violate the Torah? How can following the advice of the rabbanim of Torah UMesorah be against the Torah?

9

 May 30, 2010 at 11:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

can someone with some insight give us a reason or two why the frum schools would not adapt to finger printing? isnt thier goalbto keep kids as safe as possible? i smell a guge cover up here

Only because it's a pain in the neck and totally unnecessary. Like how many people are hired out of the blue in the without anybody knowing whether they have a scandal attached to them?

10

 May 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM fight for our freedom!! Says:

fingerprinting is am infringement on my rights!!! i will not succumb to pasik's preposterous demands!!! i am protected by the 4th amendment and i demand my freedom!!! lets start fingerprinting all lawyers and see what this pasik has to say about it!!!

11

 May 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Neither Aguda or Tora Umsorah have auditing capability or relationships with jewish schools. They have at most only cursury relationships. They exchange memos. But that it.

I agree. Torah Umesorah and Agudath Israel are more like advisory groups. (A loose coalition with no enforcement power.) In the Catholic School system it probably is more centralized and more control of funding to the individual schools. Thereby giving the Central board more power of enforcement. IMH. Running fingerprints of applicants through the State (and Federal) database, in addition to a background check by name is the best way to ensure that individuals with past convictions of sexual offenses are not hired.

12

 May 30, 2010 at 12:39 PM MO are not compliant too Says:

Why is this targeting Torah U'Mesorah. Modern Orthodox schools and Solomon Schechter schools also belong to their own network. They have also ignored the new background checks. I call on Yeshiva University Affiliated schools and all Conservative schools to comply as well!!!!

13

 May 30, 2010 at 12:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Lets not complicte the matter. All it will take is a simple letter from gadolei yisroel to all chassideshe and litvashe yeshivot and beis yaakovs (and shuls that run preschool programs) saying that any teacher, assistant, janitor etc. i.e. ANYONE who goes near our yinglach must undergo a full background check with the authorities including fingerprints. No exceptions, even for rabbonim who are regarded as big talmeidi chacamim or who are "vouched for" by a chushive rav. Zero tolereance for anyone with ANY prior conviction of any kind of innapproriate behavior. If this serves to prevent even one tragic case of abuse, than whatever the cost of such checks will be worthwhile.

How about using common sense instead? How about getting letters from parents in every yeshiva saying that their children are not korbonos! And THEY insist that they want anyone who goes within daled amos of their children's schools and yeshivas be fingerprinted!

14

 May 30, 2010 at 01:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
fight for our freedom!! Says:

fingerprinting is am infringement on my rights!!! i will not succumb to pasik's preposterous demands!!! i am protected by the 4th amendment and i demand my freedom!!! lets start fingerprinting all lawyers and see what this pasik has to say about it!!!

I am certain that Mr. Pasik would agree that all lawyers should be fingerprinted before they are left in left of young children.

15

 May 30, 2010 at 01:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
fight for our freedom!! Says:

fingerprinting is am infringement on my rights!!! i will not succumb to pasik's preposterous demands!!! i am protected by the 4th amendment and i demand my freedom!!! lets start fingerprinting all lawyers and see what this pasik has to say about it!!!

Lawyers are fingerprinted.

16

 May 30, 2010 at 01:42 PM Q Says:

Fingerprinting is a good start but how will it help if we don't report molesters so their fingerprints are not in any data base???

17

 May 30, 2010 at 02:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
MO are not compliant too Says:

Why is this targeting Torah U'Mesorah. Modern Orthodox schools and Solomon Schechter schools also belong to their own network. They have also ignored the new background checks. I call on Yeshiva University Affiliated schools and all Conservative schools to comply as well!!!!

Why doesn't your community become a leader on this issue and do the right thing first? Everyone always waits for Modern Orthodox or Conservative communities to lead in education. Why can't the black hat world set an example to the rest of the communities of what is a right thing to do so that they will follow too?

18

 May 30, 2010 at 02:32 PM esther Says:

Reply to #10  
fight for our freedom!! Says:

fingerprinting is am infringement on my rights!!! i will not succumb to pasik's preposterous demands!!! i am protected by the 4th amendment and i demand my freedom!!! lets start fingerprinting all lawyers and see what this pasik has to say about it!!!

if you feel so strongly about not wanting to be finger printed then you should go into a field that doesn't involve interaction with children like bartending or gambling.

19

 May 30, 2010 at 03:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Nobody is hired "out of the blue" in Yeshivas because they have references, and there are no fingerprints on a live body so why fingerprint?

20

 May 30, 2010 at 03:13 PM Gregaaron Says:

"Many do run applicants' names, but there are a lot of mistakes with that. People can give false identities, for example. It's very imperfect."

How many times has that been in issue in our Yeshivos?

21

 May 30, 2010 at 03:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Which mosad doesn't know the staff they hire? in a community setting where everyone knows everyones gatcheh size no fingerprint background check is necessary. If there is geshmake shmutz everyone knows....

22

 May 30, 2010 at 03:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Do not make it optional, make it mandatory!!! If they are not fingerprinted, so not let them through the door!! Accountants are fingerprinted also. anybody with a state license is fingerprinted!!

23

 May 30, 2010 at 04:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

How does doing a background check violate the Torah? How can following the advice of the rabbanim of Torah UMesorah be against the Torah?

Its chikas hagoy. we can not let the goy should deside who is able to be a teacher. We need teacher fanatics fearing from god. Not with a background check

24

 May 30, 2010 at 06:02 PM Lawyer Says:

Reply to #10  
fight for our freedom!! Says:

fingerprinting is am infringement on my rights!!! i will not succumb to pasik's preposterous demands!!! i am protected by the 4th amendment and i demand my freedom!!! lets start fingerprinting all lawyers and see what this pasik has to say about it!!!

Um, lawyers do get fingerprinted. Right before taking the bar. I knew of quite a few whose teenage indiscretions kept them from taking the bar until they handled the matter.

25

 May 30, 2010 at 06:26 PM shmiel glassman Says:

ANSWER! so why dont the yeshivas....its not because of "nisht by unz" -its because to be "in the sex offender registry" you need to have been "booked" & charged w/ at least a misdemeanor even a disorderly coduct chg would not get on the list
in simple english you had to have done something , & have it called in & arrested & central booking & convicted or plead guilty & ONLY THEN ARE YOU ON THE LIST - i have personally gone thru three of the biggest databases by zipcode for ny nj - & you get a handful of odd frum characters for the most part. i can almost guarantee that there isnt 1 rebbe or teacher that is currently employed in a yeshiva thats on the list with a charge ; all the recent stories may have had rumors by unz but nothing on record
as far as the cleaning help it would make sense thats assuming " they exist"

26

 May 30, 2010 at 06:52 PM commonsen$e Says:

Fingerprints is not the yeshuah, I think if we do fingerprints it is going to lead us false sense of security, when a person is hired in a hiemish yeshiva, the Yeshiva is doing extensive research on that person, and in such an enclosed community that we live they usually find out much more than finger prints can show... We don't need the gvmnt goiyim telling us how to live what is good for them might not be good for us, we can take care of our self.

27

 May 30, 2010 at 08:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
Anonymous Says:

Its chikas hagoy. we can not let the goy should deside who is able to be a teacher. We need teacher fanatics fearing from god. Not with a background check

When the goyim have smart ideas and good practices, we are obligated to follow their behavior...yidden don't have a monopoly on intelligence and even the top yeshivos and gadolim can be shown in one way or another to have copied or adopted goiyeshe practices which are not contrary to daaas torah. So keep you "chigas hagoy" to your ignorant self.

28

 May 30, 2010 at 09:19 PM Leon Zacharowicz MD Says:

Many professionals, including physicians, are required to be fingerprinted, and at times are subject to a criminal background check, before licensure (e.g., New Jersey).

It makes sense to investigate those who have access to our children, and a fingerprint check is a quick and very reliable way to screen out at least some of those who pose a danger to our children.

Whether publicizing the sad state of affairs in some of our schools in the NY Post is the correct approach is another matter, but presumably Elliot Pasik, who has been dealing with victims of child sexual abuse for many, many years in our community, felt the need to 'go public' and use the power of the media to cajole our yeshivas and seminaries into taking action.

29

 May 30, 2010 at 10:02 PM esther Says:

Reply to #26  
commonsen$e Says:

Fingerprints is not the yeshuah, I think if we do fingerprints it is going to lead us false sense of security, when a person is hired in a hiemish yeshiva, the Yeshiva is doing extensive research on that person, and in such an enclosed community that we live they usually find out much more than finger prints can show... We don't need the gvmnt goiyim telling us how to live what is good for them might not be good for us, we can take care of our self.

from your post it is obvious that you head your head buried way,way deep in the sand.

30

 May 30, 2010 at 10:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #29  
esther Says:

from your post it is obvious that you head your head buried way,way deep in the sand.

From your post its obvious that you head your head some issues to deal with...

31

 May 31, 2010 at 05:15 AM 100021 Says:

Re: finger prints.

If a person has nothing to hide then he has nothing to fear.

It is those with "histories" who make the most fuss about this simple - but necessary - precaution.

32

 May 31, 2010 at 06:29 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
fight for our freedom!! Says:

fingerprinting is am infringement on my rights!!! i will not succumb to pasik's preposterous demands!!! i am protected by the 4th amendment and i demand my freedom!!! lets start fingerprinting all lawyers and see what this pasik has to say about it!!!

You might be protected by the 4th amendment but I hope my kids are protected from a moron like you by having the yeshivos not hire someone who declines fingerprinting

33

 May 31, 2010 at 08:39 AM Lawyer Says:

Reply to #10  
fight for our freedom!! Says:

fingerprinting is am infringement on my rights!!! i will not succumb to pasik's preposterous demands!!! i am protected by the 4th amendment and i demand my freedom!!! lets start fingerprinting all lawyers and see what this pasik has to say about it!!!

How does the 4th Amendment protect you from having an employer check your fingerprints as a condition for employment? You are choosing to apply for the job. How do you read that into the text of the 4th Amendment. Please cite some legal authority to support your interpretation.

34

 May 31, 2010 at 11:53 AM formally Says:

to all the naysayers,

Is it so hard for a frum person to move toi another state with his or her family and after a few years everybody will vouch for him or her. Yet that person might have a checked past and no one would know. For those people who claim there is no more abusers in the yeshivas what drug or you on, even crack cannot do so mush damage.

The stories that we read now, whether in VIN or not in VIN (there are many) that is only the tip of the iceberg since there is a code of silence in the community. It take a very brave family that is willing to buck the system of not reporting such events. To go against some robbonum (who are mistaken, and a danger) who say don't go to the police.

If I would be a parent I think a simple solution would be, Parents take your kids out of yeshiva until the yeshiva does fingerprint check. It might take a few weeks, but your love and safety of your children is strong than the yeshivas opposition to fingerprinting.

You have the power since you have the numbers. Coco cola drinkers brought Coke to its knees many years ago when the changed the flavor simply buy not buying Coke any more. Coke is more powerfull than the yeshiva .

35

 May 31, 2010 at 11:56 AM formally Says:

Reply to #26  
commonsen$e Says:

Fingerprints is not the yeshuah, I think if we do fingerprints it is going to lead us false sense of security, when a person is hired in a hiemish yeshiva, the Yeshiva is doing extensive research on that person, and in such an enclosed community that we live they usually find out much more than finger prints can show... We don't need the gvmnt goiyim telling us how to live what is good for them might not be good for us, we can take care of our self.

yep you are right,

a goy has never come up with a good idea, all the ideas that are good all come only Torah Jews.

Also some medicines where invented by goyim, I guess who do not take them.

Also windows a goy why are you using it

36

 May 31, 2010 at 11:59 AM Anonymous Says:

the same thing goes for all the school bus drivers are not tested for drug use so the next time u c ur bus driver high feel good

37

 May 31, 2010 at 12:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #25  
shmiel glassman Says:

ANSWER! so why dont the yeshivas....its not because of "nisht by unz" -its because to be "in the sex offender registry" you need to have been "booked" & charged w/ at least a misdemeanor even a disorderly coduct chg would not get on the list
in simple english you had to have done something , & have it called in & arrested & central booking & convicted or plead guilty & ONLY THEN ARE YOU ON THE LIST - i have personally gone thru three of the biggest databases by zipcode for ny nj - & you get a handful of odd frum characters for the most part. i can almost guarantee that there isnt 1 rebbe or teacher that is currently employed in a yeshiva thats on the list with a charge ; all the recent stories may have had rumors by unz but nothing on record
as far as the cleaning help it would make sense thats assuming " they exist"

nothing on record,

There is dozens of frum yiuddin on the list. And that is only when someone had the guts to buck the system. The Da has a stack of fills ready tom go if people would be willing to deal with the police. I am sure you do not believe there are any frum gonavim either all the stoiries we hear are just that. All all that are in prison where just framed

I am not sure where you have been the last few years.

Question, if Jews are so perfect why does the Torah list punishment for crimes since as per you we do not do crimes

38

 May 31, 2010 at 12:07 PM formally Says:

Reply to #29  
esther Says:

from your post it is obvious that you head your head buried way,way deep in the sand.

in you dreams

so start your own country, have your own army. who protect you here the police who rescued yiddin in the camps in Germany did a brigade of frummies rescue us.

live in your fantasy world that the chassedeim cam do all. I would love to see how long any community would last without government help. Its ok to take their money but do not give us any ideas

39

 Jun 01, 2010 at 02:07 PM NY Grandma of 3 Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Which mosad doesn't know the staff they hire? in a community setting where everyone knows everyones gatcheh size no fingerprint background check is necessary. If there is geshmake shmutz everyone knows....

Oh, really? If that were true, my dear grandson would NOT have undergone the trauma of nearly a YEAR of mistreatment at the hands of an "experienced" teacher with no less than six verified references. She chose THAT year to snap and put all 20 kinderlach (age 4) and a terrified aide through hell. The principal, other parents, professionals of all walks, etc. were in and out of that classroom for 7 months, frantic to figure out what was going on with these kids (my ainichel was the worst affected, developing full blown selective mutism). She was finally caught in the act and fled the school, before the police came.

We can't find all potential evildoers, but here no one knew she had been a suspect in an unproven case of abuse in another state five years before. She was fingerprinted then, but records were not integrated between states 9 years ago. Even depts within the same state did not share "proprietary" information! It took months of detective work just to uncover this.

Now, B"H. information IS shared and a fingerprint check would have shown this history, or so I'm told, & I thought it was mandatory. I'm writing the schools my dear ones attend TODAY!

40

 Jun 01, 2010 at 02:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Which mosad doesn't know the staff they hire? in a community setting where everyone knows everyones gatcheh size no fingerprint background check is necessary. If there is geshmake shmutz everyone knows....

Say what? Its well known that there have been predators who went from school to school. And "Gadol" types who got them new jobs. This would prevent that garbage.
The downside I suspect, is the cost. Someone has to pay for those checks. My guess is that the schools dont want another expense for what they see as a possible but relatively rare problem. Until parents *insist* on this, and make sure its included in a schools budget as a cost of doing business, it wont happen.

41

 Jun 01, 2010 at 04:55 PM shmiel glassman Says:

you didnt bother to read the comment- you agree that there isnt much on record because people dont call the police , & the " hundreds of files in the das office " would also not show up in a search!! i did not say there arent molesters... we were discussing specificly the effectiveness of a search
lastly there are not dozens & only 2 of them were actually working with kids "

42

 May 09, 2012 at 08:38 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Stop with the non sense. Who needs this. Frum yiden will not do what the goy sad to do. We are yiden and we do what the thora sad to do.
That's history how jews against jews always acted. And they will act in the future. And that why we pray daily vlamalshnim. Its a prayer against sinful jews and jews who think they know better from our old rabbis. So history continues and we will deal with that the same way our old rabbis dealt with it

Duh.............obviously that didn't work, or we would't be having this conversation about a problem that still exists!!!!!

43

 May 09, 2012 at 08:43 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

can someone with some insight give us a reason or two why the frum schools would not adapt to finger printing? isnt thier goalbto keep kids as safe as possible? i smell a guge cover up here

Its very simple, they don't want to know, for one. Number two, the Roshei Yeshivos hold themselves above the Law and way too kovodik to submit to fingerprinting. They feel it is disrespectful to them to be fingerprinted. I have had this conversation before and I said "adarabah, the Rosh Yeshiva should be the first in the school to do it to show that he does NOT consider it disrespectful or against his kovod in any way. If the Rosh shows that he would do anything to assure the safety of his talmidim and this is a simple process that he approves of and is in favor of, then every one of his staff would run to follow suit. Anyone who doesn't should be questioned about his motives. If a Gadol, can take out the garbage, any Rosh Yeshiva should have no problem setting this example either."

44

 May 09, 2012 at 08:47 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #10  
fight for our freedom!! Says:

fingerprinting is am infringement on my rights!!! i will not succumb to pasik's preposterous demands!!! i am protected by the 4th amendment and i demand my freedom!!! lets start fingerprinting all lawyers and see what this pasik has to say about it!!!

Lets fully understand the concept of fingerprinting. Any and every person working in the Yeshiva system that gets paid by the Department of Education, that means all the "therapists providing services" who are mostly frum, have all been fingerprinted. Anyone working for the City, State or Federal governments have all been fingerprinted. Many people working in the diamond and jewelry district have been fingerprinted. There are other employment areas that require fingerprinting as well. If other employers can make this a requirement, why can't those in charge of our children's welfare do so?

45

 May 09, 2012 at 08:50 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #16  
Q Says:

Fingerprinting is a good start but how will it help if we don't report molesters so their fingerprints are not in any data base???

Anyone arrested or charged with a crime and is booked through any police station is fingerprinted and therefore is in a database. Maybe, just the fact that their fingerprints are in a database will help curb their apetite.

46

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