Aug 17, 2016

Youth protection closes investigation into ultra-Orthodox Hasidic school

Children will be registered with the EMSB and largely home-schooled

By Melinda Dalton, CBC News 

Aug 16, 2016

Parents and directors at a Hasidic school in the Rosemont—La-Petite-Patrie borough say they're pleased the province's youth protection department has closed its file, after the school was raided over concerns of "educational neglect."

The Viznitz community school, operated by the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, was raided by officials from Batshaw Youth and Family Centres in June.

The concern was a potential violation of the province's Youth Protection Act which requires that children are given the proper access to schooling. 

That investigation was closed in July, but the details only became public this week.

In a letter signed by Assunta Gallo, the director of youth protection for CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, which manages Batshaw, the agency says the community's decision to register children in home-schooling removes the risk they will not be receive a proper education.

"The observations and assessments demonstrate that your [children] are meeting developmental milestones," the letter reads.

"Therefore, we have concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the presumption that your [children's] security or development may be considered in danger."

Abraham Ekstein, a spokesman for the community, said the issue was never about the safety of the children attending the school. 

"It was only a difference of opinion in the way of educating the children that has been settled," he said.

"I think this is a win-win situation for all Quebecers."

Extra support

The children will be registered with the English Montreal School Board and will receive some in-school instruction at the community school as well as extra educational support. 

The students will be tested on the same material as other elementary students, but they will receive additional instruction in religious and Hebrew studies at the community school. 

Yitty Shachan, a former teacher and a mother of five, said she's looking forward to home-schooling her children. 

"I believe home-schooling also saves a lot of time over classroom-schooling, simply because you're working one on one with the child, you usually can move at a faster pace," she said. 

Shachan says some children might spend more time at the school than others. Ekstein said that will be determined on an individual basis.


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