Jul 13, 2010

Dealing with the victim instead of the abuser (video)

This video is shocking. It is from Israel News, via Kikar Shabbos.
A few days ago the news publicized a video of a party in a Haredi kindergarten in which the gannenet had seatbelted down a kid to his chair so that he could not get up. The kid was mostly a disturbance, and during the party she "tied him down" so she could deal with the party and the other kids. It seems she would do so at any such occasion where she did not want to, or could not, dedicate enough of her attention to this child's needs. When the teacher was asked about it, the teacher said "what's the difference? Next year anyway [because of the Emannuel story] we will all be taking less "frenkelach" in the gan.". Frenk is a derogatory term for sefardim. The story wade the news, as they say. Another sign of discrimination against sefardim, another story of abusive teachers in the haredi school system. etc.

The story didn't shock me at the time. Anybody with kids in school knows there is discrimination. Sometimes it is justified, usually it is not. The fact that she "tied him down" was shocking, but not really such a big deal. It was more like a harness or seatbelt, and not like she tied him down with rope on in a mean way. The kid was uncontrollable and she had to pay attention to the others. I am not justifying it - it should not happen, but it was not such a shocker to me, nor did I consider it such a big deal.

The big deal is the new clip of the news last night. The father of the child, who reported the teacher for her criminal and abusive behavior, is now being blacklisted around his neighborhood. A gan his kid had been accepted in for the coming year has retracted the acceptance and told him she cannot take the child. He has been told that he should not have reported her, and he is being "excommunicated" from the neighborhood. His kids can't get into any schools.

Instead of uprooting such behavior form the schools and teachers, instead of firing the abusive teacher, the system and its leaders choose to protect the abusive teacher and "deal with" the father who had to deal with the abusive behavior his child was being treated with.

That is what is shocking.

Here is the clip:


  1. why are you shocked? this SOP in human behavior, and with hareidim as well. a society that calls people who report vandals and criminals to the police as moserim? that uses lashon hara as a weapon to shut down any discussion?

  2. I'm with the schools. Any parent who takes this route (videotaping the gan and then running to the media, instead of the school) is not the kind of parent I want to have in my classroom.

    We had a similar case of a client who claims we said something, and after a few rounds of argument, produced a low-quality audio recording he made of the original meeting (from which we couldn't understand anything, but that's besides the point). Since we are not obligated by law to take on anyone who walks in the door as a client, we've decided among ourselves that if this guy comes back, we'll refuse to do any work for him, since who wants to deal with a guy who secretly tapes a meeting and then throws it back at you later?

  3. Rafi, I am horrified that you find this behavior no big deal. This kind of thing has become so commonplace that we've become insensitive to it. A child whose behavior is so disruptive that the teacher feels she has no recourse other than to strap him to his chair clearly has significant needs that should have been addressed earlier in the year! If this was a one-time thing related to the anxiety such events often induce in small children, then part of the ganenet's job description includes finding an outlet for the boy's nervous energy, such as having him stand next to the teacher, holding his hands and dancing with him while she sings with the other children, having him hold a baton and pretend to be the conductor, etc. Any teacher who cannot think of simple humane solutions to common classroom problems (they are all of 2 years old!!!) DOES NOT BELONG IN A CLASSROOM! This kind of behavior is never acceptable and should not be tolerated. What has happened to us as parents?!

  4. I did not mean that the behavior is no big deal. I said it is abusive and should be dealt with. But there are people in every society who behave like that and the system should deal with them. I dont write about every criminal act reported in the newspaper, because people commit crimes, they get caught, it gets dealt with. She was abusive, and she should be dealt with. That is not my issue.

    yoni - he was probably recording as part of the party. he may not be 100%, but he probably felt he had nobody to speak to anyway, considering her attitude. She was very defiant when she was approached, and justified what she did.

    Ben - you are right, but it is still shocking when it happens. It also usually happens prior to authorities being brought in as a way of keeping it quiet. once they are brought in you dont usually have such blatant attacks on the victim. People around town might whisper about him being a troublemaker, but to have an organized blacklisting of him seems out of the ordinary. Maybe he has been a troublemaker in general and this is just the latest incident. who knows?

  5. Rafi,
    I think you're missing something here. If this kind of behavior were considered abuse by the hamon am, do you think the ganenet would have done it in front of an audience full of parents? Did you notice anyone object? Wake up, folks, and realize that this kind of thing happens EVERY DAY in regular, mainstream Israeli ganim and is not only considered "no big deal" but a logical way of dealing with such "discipline problems." You're assuming that everyone with a brain in their head knows this is abuse and is unacceptable. Unfortunately, this is not so.

  6. A new and innovative law is going into effect in New York, regarding spanking/hitting in the school system. IOW if a staff member hits or spanks a child, it will considered a felony. There is 'nervousness' concerning this new law (not for the victim yet for the perpetrator) & how it will effect the yeshiva schools. OY VEY!!!

  7. There are ways to deal with people. Going to the cops is not the answer for everything.

    I also would not accept him to my school / gan. Who needs a guy who blows things out of proportion around?

    With these guys - and yes, I mean noar kahalacha and his cronies, you never know what hes going to do next.

    Not interested.

    Kol haKavod to the Rov of the town for taking a strong stand against this guy, and a bigger Kol Hakavod to the kehilla for listening

  8. and would you discipline the teacher or is she ok in your book? would you fire her? send her to therapy?

    if someone broke into your neighbors house and stole all the silver and cash, and the homeowner called the police, would you censure him as well and ban him from the local shul and schools?

  9. Rafi,

    I think this behavior (strapping a kid down) is pretty rampant.

    When I was considering running a gan in my house, someone advised me to strap the kids down (!). Needless to say I didn't do it. I ended up not doing a gan afterall, but I would never strap a kid down like that if I did.

  10. anonymous - I understand, nobody wants a troublemaker. who knows what else they will make trouble about. But in your theoretical school (or do you actually run a school so you are speaking more lmaaseh than theoretical?), while you wouldnt want to take a troublemaker, what would you do about this type of a teacher? you hire a kindergarten teacher and then find out she is strapping the kids down to make her own job easier. what do you do?

  11. Unfortunately, attacking the victim (and the victim's family) is a regular response to allegations of child abuse.

    It is a sick response - only secondary to the abuser themselves.

    Those who respond to incidents of abuse, by harassing and intimidating the families of the abused child, should themselves be imprisoned.

    See David Morris' latest article about this on tzedek-tzedek.

  12. These people take extreme actions, none of which are warranted by halacha. What's the halacha?
    ולא הקפדן מלמד
    Every moment this incompetent teacher is in the classroom is a halachic violation.

    The sicko who rejected the child from entering his gan cited Chilul Hashem. Does he know the halachos of Chilul Hashem? No- he's got a feeling, that's all. He's no better than the Reform. And even if it was a Chilul Hashem, does that halachically warrant and require blacklisting the child? How can a so called Torah community refuse to teach Torah?
    Does the community have a legitimate problem with the parent? If they do, there are halachic ways to deal with him. Does the halacha call for blacklisting? לע"ד maybe Reform Halacha calls for such a response, but I doubt you'll see it in the Shulchan Aruch.

    These people are doing things that have no basis in Torah; it would not surprise me if they end up חוזר בשאילה.


Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...