New policies will be implemented for the upcoming school year in order to ensure greater student safety in Borough Park, according to a VIN report. The planned policies come over a month following multiple allegations about possible improprieties happening at prominent girls’ school in Boro Park known as Bais Sarah.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Rabbi Nuchem Klein, owner and principal of the girls’ school, sent a letter to its parent body announcing new policies aimed at alleviating parental concerns while providing greater protection for students. Measures would include mandatory training sessions on abuse for all faculty members. Bais Sarah also agreed to bring in an unnamed third party expert to discuss any potential issues, according to VIN News. Community activists prompted the response after attending a May 15th meeting with Bais Sarah.
One attendee of the meeting felt things were moving in the right direction. Brooklyn businessman Shuli Halpert said that “every mossad, boys and girls, should have someone that students, faculty members or parents could go to confidentially if they feel that someone inappropriate has taken place. Nobody wants to blow this out of proportion but on the other hand, things like this have been pushed under the rug for too long,” he told VIN news.
As previously reported on VIN News, Assemblyman Hikind announced that he had been contacted by multiple parents whose daughters attend the Bais Sarah School and its associated Camp Chayei Sura, charging that an employee had a history of harassing and touching girls and that the administration did nothing to address those concerns.
Assemblyman Hikind welcomed the new policies. He described them as a solid step in the right direction, one that he hopes that other schools will emulate, VIN News reports. The assemblyman also called on Agudath Israel of America to back an initiative that would have other institutions taking similar action.
In a statement emailed to VIN News, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel America, said that he was pleased to hear that protocols approved by Torah leaders were being put in place to protect children from predators throughout the year.
“Agudath Israel has long promoted the abuse-related behavioral standards developed by Torah Umesorah for implementation in yeshivos and day schools, and the guidelines we developed for implementation in our camps and youth programs,” said Rabbi Zwiebel. “We look forward to working with Torah Umesorah to study the details of the protocols developed for use in Bais Sarah with an eye toward possible application on a broader scale in the yeshiva community.”
Zev Dunner, program director of Torah Umesorah’s Project Lishmor which deals with safety and abuse prevention, said that concrete change has been taking place and is gathering steam.
“Rabbeim, schools and parents are all getting more and more on board with the need to do this,” explained Dunner. “Our duty here is to ensure the safety of every child at all times.”
By: Sean Holland