An ultra-Orthodox boys’ primary school in Jerusalem removed a 10-year-old boy from his class after he reported to the police that a teacher had sexually assaulted him. The teacher was subsequently issued a restraining order distancing him from the student, but the school allowed him to continue teaching. In response to a query from Haaretz, the Education Ministry instructed the principal to return the child to school.
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The mother accompanied the child as he filed a report last month that the teacher, from the elementary school affiliated with the hardline ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem Faction sect, had committed indecent acts against him. The boy told investigators of several instances of harassment by the teacher, and one case in which the teacher assaulted him sexually.
“For a long time, the boy told us that the teacher had been complimenting him on his appearance, sat the boy next to him in class and gave him massages again and again,” the mother told Haaretz. According to the mother, her son said that during the massages, the teacher tried to touch him in intimate places. She said she asked her son to distance himself from that teacher to the best of his ability.
The boy said that a few weeks ago, the teacher took him to the school’s copy room, where he inserted his hand under the boy’s shirt and into his pants. At this point, the mother decided to file a police report. The teacher was questioned, and released on the condition that he not enter any educational institution in Israel for the following eight days, and that he refrain from contact with the boy for 30 days. In addition, officials in the Jerusalem municipality’s ultra-Orthodox education administration were informed of the details.
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About a week later, when the teacher's ban on entering an educational institution ended, the child was told to leave the class. The school also asked that the child be moved to a higher class, but the mother refused. “Instead of keeping the teacher away from the children, and at least from my child, they kept my child away. They decided to put him in a class with older children, with study material he does not know, and away from his usual friends,” she said. “This is unacceptable. How can it be that the child who has been harmed is the one kept away?” she added.
The mother said that since the complaint was filed, the school administrators have harassed her son and spoke ill of him to other schools to which she wants to transfer him. “He’s a good and sweet boy, the principal himself said so not long ago, but suddenly they say he’s a problematic child and shouldn’t be admitted,” she said.
The principal refused to respond to inquiries from Haaretz.
The Education Ministry responded: “The principal did not act in accordance with procedures. Following the newspaper’s query, the school was instructed to bring the student back to his class, and to find another solution for the teacher, while protecting the student.” The ministry pledged to make sure its instructions were followed.
The municipality responded: “This is a private institution, and the ultra-Orthodox district in the Education Ministry is its supervisor. From the moment the case became known, the municipality acted, through the ultra-Orthodox education administration, to inform all enforcement agencies and involve various professionals."