'Degrading' Modesty Monitors at NYC Jewish School Draw Outrage

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Yeshivah of FlatbushCredit: Wikimedia Commons

Female students at a Jewish high school in Brooklyn are outraged that two monitors were hired this year to enforce a stringent new dress code, The New York Post reports.

An open letter by a student addressing administrators at the Yeshivah of Flatbush last month has failed to alleviate the modesty crackdown; the two monitors patrol the school halls for exposed collarbones and calves, according to the report. 

“We’re walking in and we’re being scrutinized every morning,” said 16-year-old senior Melissa Duchan, who wrote a letter to Flatbush staff in September complaining about the "predatory" and misogynistic scrutiny that female students endure daily.

Duchan said that she was summoned by school administrators after the letter was published by JTA, but the situation has not changed since.

“We can’t just walk in the halls because everyone’s looking at us and judging us every second for our clothing. Obviously, it’s degrading,” she told the Post.

Duchan also told the Post that the monitors are not Jewish. School officials “want to make it not like a Jewish thing,” she said. “They just want you to follow the rules of the school, so they specifically hired non-Jewish people.”

Another senior, Jaclyn Klein, agreed that the monitors are "overly harsh. They scream at you. They bring down your confidence. One time, I got pushed into a corner by this one lady who said, ‘You better go change your skirt right now.’”

The Post lists the Modern Orthodox yeshiva's dress code for girls, which requires them to wear skirts that are mid-calf length or longer, shirts that cover their collarbone and the "middle of the body, even when leaning over or raising one’s hand" and shoes with backs.

The dress code prohibits female students from having more than one earring per earlobe or "beaded, cornrowed or unusually colored hair."

The boys' dress code is far less detailed, the paper reports.

Seth Linfield, the school's executive director, refused to comment on the Post's report.

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