Ministry Disqualifies Exam After Haredi School Bars Proctor for 'Immodest Attire'

Ultra-Orthodox refused to allow a ministry proctor into the classroom because it said she was not properly attired.

The Education Ministry has disqualified the matriculation exam in Jewish philosophy administered at an ultra-Orthodox girls' school in Jerusalem this past summer, after the institution refused to allow a ministry proctor into the classroom because it said she was not properly attired.

The ministry said the school did not have the authority to reject a proctor, and therefore disqualified the results of all 243 exams taken that day.

On June 1, the test in Jewish philosophy was given at the Beit Hannah-Chabad girls' school in Jerusalem. According to the school's exam coordinator, Rabbi Asher Solomon, the proctor came "wearing slacks and a shirt with very short sleeves, above the shoulder. We passed through the corridors to make sure everything was going properly, but I explained to her that dressed like that, we could not allow her to enter the classrooms."

In a letter to the Education Ministry last Thursday, the school's principal, Rabbi Tuvia Blau, wrote that he had explained to the proctor that "she was welcome to visit the school as an honored guest after she improves her appearance. She responded that she saw nothing wrong with her appearance."

Blau also wrote that the proctor was asked to return properly dressed, "or tell her superiors to send a male or female substitute."

The school said that in conversations with the Education Ministry after the incident, it was agreed that from now on, male proctors rather than women would be sent.

"We understood from the Education Ministry that the problem is behind us," a member of the school's board of directors, Rabbi Peretz Blau, said.

Last week, however, the school received a letter stating that the 243 exams taken that day had been disqualified.

Rabbi Tuvia Blau wrote the ministry that matriculation exams have been held at the school for decades, yet the number of tests disqualified for cheating has been almost nil throughout that time.

The Education Ministry said: "The school does not have the authority to reject a proctor. The school was offered other proctors, but it refused to accept them. The school can appeal the decision."