Aug 7, 2017
Rejecting "Not Suited" Students
Illustration photo

A board member was conflicted about rejecting students who are "not suited" for the school, so he wrote to Rabbi Shais Taub...

The question and the answer were first published in this past week's edition of the Ami Magazine. To become a reader, visit amimagazine.org/subscribe



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Opinions and Comments
1
Wow
First time that someone really digs into the situation.

No one can do it better than rabbi Taub.
(8/7/2017 9:56:39 PM)
2
Question
So who does the school accept
(8/7/2017 10:19:56 PM)
3
So...?
Perhaps a good balance would be, If the institution pushes itself, while holding the lines of its principles.

So,

1. Its principles and policies are clearly defined. (If the board can't agree on what those are it is not a healthy institution!)

2. Principles and policies are clearly communicated to parents abd students.

3. Parents and students ackowledge understanding and submitting to those policies.

4. Those policies are cherished and upheld. They remain the standard by which the health of the organazation is defined.
(8/7/2017 10:47:50 PM)
4
Thank you Rabbi Taub!
As a parent and a Shliach, I struggle to understand how an educational institution can tell a child and their parents that " we cannot educate your child. I am still looking for a mesivta for my son . Some have no room, some think their yeshiva is not for my son etc. Go explain that to a child who spent their first 14 years of life on shlichus all alone and has been dreaming of the day he will leave home and go to a real yeshiva!!!
(8/7/2017 11:07:28 PM)
5
Thank you Rabbi Taub !!!
Beautiful response !
(8/7/2017 11:35:38 PM)
6
EVERY CHILD HAS A NESHAMA
BH How can we throw Yiddishe Nashamas on the Street.
Isn't it the Community Responsibility make sure, Every Yiddshe Child has somewhere to go.
(8/8/2017 12:17:34 AM)
7
very impressive.
This is a very impressive piece, and it is very nice, how he takes a Michtav Keloli of the rebbe and ties it in to our current situation.

However: it cannot be overlooked, that the point here is, that it may be possible, that the school is overextending itself for one individual, at the expense of other individuals.

We have to realize that the school is not one big amorphous group, rather it is made up of many little students just like this one. so if one compromises the other, then it is a interesting situation.
(8/8/2017 12:27:26 AM)
8
There is (at least) one famous letter of the Rebbe
Concerning the responsibility of the school ITSELF to find a "suitable school" for any student they do not accept or want to expel. If someone can find it, it addresses these crucial issues.
(8/8/2017 1:04:11 AM)
9
the reality ?
Too many heilige nshomas are rejected by yeshiva systems that don't like how someone looks or because they don't fit the box. We used to be about 'Outreach' and still are but 'inreach' is a very pressing issue
(8/8/2017 2:07:33 AM)
10
TRUE - affects many circumstances
This is quite true - these principles come up in other circumstances tpp - not just in educational organizations - that the hanhala (plural or one person) finds itself in - a tzeddaka org or one who is in tuition or in an office situation (where people have to pay up) (or accepted into a program) - it can become very officious - and there can be NO bending, "working with you" - (also applies occasionally, giving a student a little slack with tests so he will succeed allround - as opposed to saying - if we give him slack, then everyone else will ask for slack (so, he may not succeed in general - whereas being granted that slack - he may have succeeded in general.
it's all about "You understand, but we have to pay our (org.)bills" - it can be about "We cannot take back this 'unworn-with-the-label-still-on' $200 dress (as
it didn't match the other bridesmaids dresses) - (even though the girl had to babysit and borrow to pay for it)... because it cost us money to ship it in and no one else could buy it as you had it out the store for a week! (meaning - you "cost" us money! All can be perceived as "heartless", unsympathetic treatment by the person - or the person having a serious problem one month in paying tuition and asked to make up for it later (and is crying) - and the "hard" attitude received - is
reminiscent of the point made above - it is not the ORG. that is the main point, but the org. is made for individuals.
Not to say - for a second - that the rules should be bent consistently, or weakened and every should "get away" with everything - just to say, that there are more RARE moments - when it has to be NOTICED (with some character perception on the spot) - when a person might be really upset and truthful ( when things need to be bent - perhaps just that time only - but to notice that the person just can't handle that situation - that time. No-one, in a frum situation - if possible, should be made to feel that he is desperate - and it may only happen to him ONCE t(o be in that situation) - but that members of hanhala, tuition officies, tzeddaka orgs, etc-
should sometimes stretch themselves to be mini-psychologists on the spot - and try and penetrate the truth -
if they see someone out-of-proportion upset in their office - who they COULD help (this once time by bending) (compromising. "accepting someone") - let them consider bending the rules for the good of an INDIVIDUAL.
Someimtes it means - having a good eye, to see that a student has "cicrumstances", to see the good in him beyond the present - or to change his class (might make all the difference), as he is upset - perhaps something to take care of in the house etc (in the area of chinuch).
- in other words - just to be less OFFICIOUS on occasion recognizing - on (even just RARE OCCASION - AS NEEDED - when a judgment, lack of accepting, making acompromise, having a forgiving attitude. seeing a potential in someone - can make the world of diference to an individual forever - BUT it may make a very slight "dent" to the organization or mosdos - but that compassion and understanding and "giving a chance" (ONLY ON RARE OCCASION as needed) - may save a soul - uplift him - and can be entirely out of proportion to the sometimes imagined harm that will come if "things are bent" - (in the chinuch are, one would call it "chinuch as pi darcho" - or just "seeing the good in a person" or just "ahavas yisroel" (but not speaking about a situation where a mosdos/org will be taken advantage of - but talking about the
rare occasion - when the decision/judgment - might be out of propotion harsh - and not necessary - for an individual (at that moment in time).
(8/8/2017 6:27:42 AM)
11
rejection is a LIVE DEATH!!!
That's how it feels .. schools and camps need to. Accept and accept !! Give kids a chance!!! And stop these unaffordable tuitions!!!!!! As long as parents and student sign a contract to keep school rules there should not be an issue of not accepting !! Schools and yeshivas have this Higher than thou attitude and could Destroy lives ... only if a student is breaking All the rules and was given several chances than you gotta find him a school for him but don't send him to the streets until you get him help ... those kids are the ones who are crying out for help
(8/8/2017 7:02:03 AM)
12
Bittul
Insightful. But the real answer is bittul. If the administrators learn chassidus and live chassidus they will know how to deal with every child individually and subsequently build beautiful communities/schools. Keep your eye on the soul and you will never strike out. More bittul. More ahavas yisroel. Greater the challenge. Greater the love. Do the right thing. Love unconditionally.
(8/8/2017 7:08:09 AM)
13
To #4
Have you tried Postville? We were very impressed by how much they really cared about our son.
(8/8/2017 7:16:41 AM)
14
sometimes parents need to form advocacy groups
Schools often form or morph around a hashkafa, such as schools that open for the very Chassidishe, or for the Modern or for children with special needs. There is nothing wrong with this, any more so than shidduch groups that form to serve a specific population such as older singles or people who have been previously married. Each group wants to attract those who fit the criteria. The Modern school doesn't want people who will criticize it's values and the Chassidishe school doesn't want someone who will dilute it's values because these schools are not catering to a melting pot. Support groups for people who have a specific situation want to attract others with that specific situation. If a group of parents who all have the same situation can unite, they might be able as a group to formulate solutions for those students who don't "fit in" to existing schools. For the student who doesn't fit in, a school can do more harm than good. People who are not Chassidishe should not expect that a Chassidishe school will tolerate a child coming who is constantly exposed to secular influences and is sharing that with other students, and why should they tolerate that??? Those families could either form or search for, a school that meets their needs.
(8/8/2017 7:44:35 AM)
15
Agree with #13
I have kah many sons and have dealt over the years with many mosdos across the us and Canada. I have never experienced the kind of caring , love and dedication that they have showed to my son. There is warmth with firmness and the hanhola are sigma chayas and they really embrace the teachings of the rebbe and a love for chassidish and halocho that the talmidim cannot help but embrace and respect! Thank you Postville!!! You should be a ner lehoir to the other chabad Mesiftas and zals.
(8/8/2017 8:20:31 AM)
16
to #11
The age-old question is how to pay for chinuch and everyone wishes that they had an answer to that. People have come up with all kinds of "solutions" that won't really work such as "taxing" every individual, even singles and the elderly, to pay for chinuch, but none of that can be enforced on a community in this day and age. Schools need money to operate and the larger the school, the larger the budget, and the unfortunate opportunity for those in command to have large salaries that have also been debated ad nauseum on sites such as this, as to whether or not they deserve it. No one has an easy answer as to how to make tuition affordable.
As to breaking of rules, it probably depends on which rules a student breaks. If a student kept all the rules but deliberately bought a package of pork rinds and the convenience store and shared it with his friends (chas v'sholem) who thought it was a big joke to try some, it would be understandable that such a student would not be very popular with the hanhala or with the parents of other students. The school could try to work with the situation but would you say that they would be obligated to retain the student if the didn't improve? And as far as finding him another school, what type of school exists that is willing to deal with that?
Let's say that you open a pre-school in your home and some parents who agreed to pay, neglect to pay and some children continually bite and injure other children or come with active infections that endanger other children, even when the parents were asked to keep such children at home. Would you still feel obligated to keep the child in your pre-school? Some parents would consider it to be your obligation, since you are teaching the children Jewish concepts and it is therefore considered chinuch.
(8/8/2017 8:28:41 AM)
17
Well written
Schools can't lose sight of the real mission. Because there are so many applicants don't just choose the cream of the crop. You can allow the average kid be rejected and dejected.
(8/8/2017 8:43:21 AM)
18
Huh?
WHT if the parents don't expect anything from their son,just get put of my hair. What if the child breaks every rule he promises to keep ,with arrogance and chutsfas. Not every principal is a psychologist,or won't open a school unless he has a degree in it,some kids just don't belong in the regular system . The community should make sure there r institutions for them. The yeshiva is not a chabad house. Don't worry the yeshiva are still full of boys whom has to be worked on.nowadays the hsnholos are dealing ith plenty of issues,they're not having it easy and to yet to accept a child whose parents really don't care if he learns a word or not is quite unrealisting. In general We r not talking about capabilities we r talking about behavior
(8/8/2017 8:56:11 AM)
19
Are you just looking for a roof?
If a yeshiva is catered for a certain style Bochur, then they are not equipped for all other styles. The boy that needs a different style yeshiva will not gain there and the rest of the "individuals" will also loose out by that boy being there.

That being said, the Yeshiva has no right taking in that boy! no matter how much the Yeshiva can use the extra tuition, they can not accept someone who they can not help or who will make the other individuals loose out.

If someone needs a Chicago style Yeshiva, then Jets has no right accepting him. If someone needs a wilkesberry yeshiva then Postville has no right accepting him.
(8/8/2017 9:24:11 AM)
20
MOB
My son was rejected by one camp and it caused him to cry for three days!. He went to another camp and he had the best summer he has ever had. His friends that went to the first camp are miserable.

There should be communication between schools/camps. If a child does not fit the institution, the Hanhala should work with the child to find another more suitable institution. Not every child is suitable for every institution. But there is always a place for every child.

In Lakewood one year, three students did not have a place in any school due to overcrowding, and the Rabbonim forced all schools to delay opening until a place was found for every last student. School opening was delayed by a couple of days. Every community should do the same thing.
(8/8/2017 9:30:56 AM)
21
Very nice in concept, but unrealistic
If you put a child with a learning disability in a class of brilliant children, the child will feel like a failure, never passing any exams, never knowing the answers to the quizzes
Put a child who is always talking about and playing with violent TV characters in a class of frum refined children, and he will have no friends.

Throw them out? No!
Destroy the school standards? No.

Why not try a tried and proven method - one school for all the children, BUT if you are not up to par with learning, you go to the class that
- is focused on kriah, not gemorrah
- learns Chumash with Rashj, and not all the other commentators.
- Reviews and practices addition while the other kids are on to multiplication.

If the child is from a family that is not frum, watches tv, dressed like who knows what, it's incumbent on the school to deal with the child, insisting that all school rules be followed at all times by the child. Underdressed mothers should not enter the school, but the girl/boy needs to follow all the rules all the time.

If the child comes to school without tzitzis, with a short skirt, no tights , have the child change immediately. Don't blame the child, it's the parents fault. There should be a substantial penalty, that needs to be paid before the child can come back to school
For kids who insist on bring goyishe tv toys, or speak inappropriately, you can have a special class room set aside where the children can learn without disturbing the Kedusha of the other classrooms. Again the parents should pay for the privilege.
Otherwise with all the OTD couples raising their children in CH according to conservadox and reform standards, we will be left with public school yeshivot R"L
(8/8/2017 9:47:48 AM)
22
Here's the thing....
If yeshivas are not equipped to teach a student that does not fit into their expertise, then what does the community have in place for a student outside of that? I would think it is incumbent upon the leadership of the educational overseers to take a serious look at the situation. There is so much that has been researched and changed in the interest of expanding the paradigm of what effective education really means. Not everyone learns best in a conventionally-designed learning environment. And how many teachers in yeshivas are knowledgeable about the art of teaching and learning , beyond curriculum itself? I venture to say that due to the lack of the former, there are plenty of students who have not been able to access a lot of what is being taught. This is not their fault. It is the fault of an educational system that does not
include depth, flexibility, and knowledge about teaching and learning.
Instead of expecting that the STUDENT measure up to THEIR standards, the STUDENT deserves teachers who can STEP up to THEM! Otherwise, the potential for unrealized potential and a host of less than preferable issues for the long term (depression, low self esteem, inability to make an adequate living, social difficulty, anxiety, confusion, disappointment, frustration, feelings of inferiority, on and on.....) will be the result.
(8/8/2017 10:09:19 AM)
23
Ylg
Thank g d that theres so much now days
(8/8/2017 10:29:42 AM)
24
We REALLY need to take a look!
What is the purpose of a yeshiva? Is the faculty prepared to fulfill that purpose? Does the purpose apply only to some? If so, what about those others? It is so easy to say, "Your child does not fit with us". What about, "We do not know enough about the art and science of teaching and learning to vary our approach". And then, how about you yourself become a mensch and take responsibility for expanding your knowledge regarding effective teaching. And how about looking at this very important issue seriously. The lack of knowledge in so many schools can have negative lifelong results. I know. I learn best with some amount of structureless time and freedom to explore. I learn better when creativity is not stifled within the process of learning. Some learn best with all structure. Some learn best in groups, some on their own. Some need a combination. Some are visual learners, some auditory, some do well with frequent opportunity to ask questions or clarify. On and on.
(8/8/2017 10:39:14 AM)
25
What appreciation is all about
Very often schools might think exactly what the above board member asked. From personal experience, diversity is a beautiful thing and helps students grow and to learn how to find the good in everyone, that just because they aren't like you doesn't mean you have to dig deeper, the good is still obvious and revealed in them.
(8/8/2017 11:22:01 AM)
26
Yasher Koach
Ami Magazine deserves a lot of credit for giving Rabbi Taub the platform to address such important issues on a weekly basis. And thank you COL sharing it with your readership.
(8/8/2017 11:42:51 AM)
27
to # 21
What you are saying works in small communities but not in big cities. Small town day schools usually take in everybody, regardless of what type of clothing the mother wears. Big cities, however, have communities within the larger community. In CH, for example, shuls are often formed as graduates of OT marry and go out into the community. One of these shuls that I know of formed it's own pre-school which might eventually expand to other grade. The school is the result of the efforts of a specific group, for that specific group and eventually they took other kids as they had spots. Now this organically formed, grass roots efforts school, was not started when someone wealthy and powerful decided that he would start a school that would run on his dictates and that all of the community's kids would have to adopt his standards. This school was started by a group of parents under the direction and leadership of the rabbi that they appointed for their shul.
Now, I ask you Mr or Mrs #21, if the pre-schools in CH run out of space and decide that this school must accommodate more kids, would you say that it has to, simply because a group of parents formed a school? Who exactly is the "community" that has to make a school with all of these parallel classes?

(8/8/2017 11:51:28 AM)
28
Great response
Of course after reading your article im a big chochom

If you have to "agonize " or feel "bad"
That should be your red flag not to do this
(Thats if you actually have red blood in your veins)
As a rov i answer many shalos i would never give a psak if i had to agonize after i gave it

REB YID WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE REBONO SHEL OLAMS BEN YACHID
(8/8/2017 2:42:45 PM)
29
Why is it my issue?
If I want to open a school for a certain level or style of Bochurim, why do I now all of sudden have to cater to every Jewish Bochur?

It is an art dealing with one style and in most cases NOT POSSIBLE to deal with more, it just doesn't work!
(8/8/2017 4:53:19 PM)
30
No 29
Exactly
How can u expect every single bochur go to same kind of yeshiva,it never was,
Not in any previous yeshivas of our rebbeim, just ain't gonna work
And yet years earlier those who couldn't afford or comprehend worked the land
(8/8/2017 5:17:52 PM)
31
To # 29
Of course you can open a yeshiva to take in whomever you choose! There is, however, another way of organizing a school. It takes skill and knowledge to organize it, but it has worked. It appears your yeshiva would exclude students who do not learn best from the way you teach. There is more to teaching than using one way. Just because you may not be aware of an array of teaching strategies doesn't mean they do not exist. I know they do, because I have successfully implemented a variety of strategies, and students who did not learn in one way actually learned well. The paradigm itself, the way we think about teaching overall....these are relevant condiderations.
I personally have chosen to be a teacher who values teacher resonsiveness to student needs, whatever differences they may represent. In that paradigm I must keep abreast of researched information about teaching and learning. I personally continue to grow in my profession, much the same way medical professionals participate in many conferences, forums, memberships, etc.
(8/8/2017 8:44:45 PM)
32
Well written article!
I really like how you framed this whole dilemma. However it isn't clear to me what your answer of what to do is.
Our Mesivta's are very strong or weak with not a suitable middle ground. An average bochur with average hanhagas has no place., but maybe a yeshiva will try. A below average bochur with average hanhagas isn't even given a chance and sent to yeshivas with below average hanhagas- and this is tragic
(8/9/2017 12:38:30 AM)
33
to #31
You have to look at how these schools get started. It usually isn't started by an individual who wants to peddle a teaching strategy to a group of people or an individual who is interested in starting a school for a particular type of student. These schools usually start with a group of parents who have a need for a particular type of school or an educator who has several parents who have come to him for help and now he realizes what the need is. My cousin helped start Otsar, after she gave birth to a child who suffered lack of oxygen during birth and was disabled as a result. My cousin had some skin in the game and that is why she was heavily instrumental in starting a school. Sometimes a shaliach goes to a very undeveloped community, starts a pre-school and it grows and morphs into a day school but he must cater to all types in order to survive.
CH is less than 3 miles from Williamsburg yet, probably very few CH children go to school there; not due to the distance because Boro Park is further, but due to the fact that those schools were created for a specific type of student, of which CH children are not. It would be the height of chutzpa to go to them and say that our kids feel excluded and unwelcome by their schools.
We somehow have understood the paradigm of the Chabad school movement to be that because Chabad values a Jewish education for every child, that every school be equipped to handle every child. That just doesn't work in a large city with thousands of people at all religious and educational levels.
(8/9/2017 7:44:31 AM)
34
ss224
if you care about your kavanos, then think twice just before you say hareini mekabel ali mitvos aseh, she ve ahavta le rayacha k'mocha. ikar. get meaningful and get real
(8/9/2017 10:11:53 AM)
35
To # 33
Thank you for your thoughtful input. I think there is a broader paradigm than what you mention. Again, that would be due to advancement in the aggregate understanding and potential of a new paradigm. Perhaps you (and others) would be willing to investigate current trends in education. One suggestion is UDL (Universal Design of Learning). There are videos, writings, specialists, etc. available. I know Chabad has invited nonJewish presenters in the past, i. e. Richard Lavoie, for other issues. I believe in his case the presentation was about behavioral concerns. I am not proposing that an "outside" consultant be recruited, but the possibility exists. Also, I can not imagine that there are no Yidden who can offer insight.
(8/9/2017 11:51:45 AM)
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