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TEEN ISSUES-----expelling kids from yeshiva

qwert Posted - 01 August 2000 14:13

When a yeshiva kicks out a kid, they are setting that kid a bad name. Everyone knows that that’s the kid that got kicked out of such and such's school. Once you are kicked out you are in trouble at home, and what school is going to want to accept that bad kid? So you're stuck, so by some school that's wants to save face, can ruin a girl's life.

By me, the school sends out spies (which is another story one day I would like to discuss) and someone said they saw this girl doing something, she was from a very frum and good family so you can imagine when her parents heard what kind of trouble she was in. She got expelled from school, and a couple of weeks later, they found out it wasn't her she was mistaken for someone else.

This girl was so depressed, and lost, and even if it was her, that is no way for a school to help. If anything it just turns you off more. So what's with this kicking out kids? I say you don't take what you can't handle, and once you accepted them they became your problem because there is a little of you behind them.

MODERATOR Posted - 01 August 2000 14:22

In general, the only justification for throwing a kid out of school is if other kids are getting ruined because of him/her.

When a school "asks a sheailah' it is not enough. You can’t judge bain adam l'chaveiro with only hearing one side of the story. When there is a question of throwing a child out of the school, there should be a hearing from an impartial, qualified, knowledgeable Torah authority.

If a school tried to take away the livelihood form a teacher by firing them, the teacher has a right to call the school to a din Torah. Throwing out a child often does more damage to the child then making her look for another job. No Frum school who wants to do the right thing should have any objection to subjecting their actions to the scrutinizing view of Daas Torah.

Punims Posted - 02 August 2000 15:03

Moderator, I understand what you are saying however... I know a lot of ppl who are kicked out of yeshiva and then go totally off of Judaism bec. being kicked out of yeshiva turned them off to Judaism. why do yeshivas do that? It hurts the kid and they're outlook on life so much. They're making a lot of Jewish children make the wrong decision.

If they think that the student is hurting the teacher or somebody... maybe they should take him/her out of the classroom environment, but it just hurts me to see so many ppl not care about anything Jewish just bec they got kicked out of school. It happened to my best friend too. She'll deny that it all came about from her getting kicked out of school but I think that’s where it all started from. what can we do about it?

MODERATOR Posted - 02 August 2000 15:14

Not much. The seforim say that before Moshiach comes the world will be very messed up, including the Jewish world. We can only try our best to change what we can. I think the best thing you can do (not that there are many options) is to teach those who are kicked out - unfairly, or even fairly - not to be turned off by it.

Rabbi Freifeld's saying, "Don't judge religion by its practitioners" is important. Whenever kids are hurt by those they perceive to represent Torah, they are likely to take out their anger and frustration on Torah. We need to teach them that that is not what they want to do.

How do to this is a bit more involved. If you have any specific instances, we can deal with it together.

Punims Posted - 03 August 2000 12:41

I do have a specific incident. my best friend got kicked out of a school that she really really loved and it was frum and everything. since then... she has been moving down in Judaism. she used to criticize me for doing small things behind my parents back, now she does that and so much worse. she actually doesn’t keep kosher anymore, shabbos and goes out with non-Jewish guys.

I want to help her but I can’t just sit and preach bec at this stage in her life she's so close-minded. if I even have Jewish music playing in the background when she calls, she'll hang up. if I mention anything Jewish to her, she'll just close her mind to it all. what can I do about it? She's my best friend and I don’t want to lose her to everything.

MODERATOR Posted - 04 August 2000 14:54

Right now, you will not be able to "bring your friend back". However, you can maximize the chances of her coming back sooner or later if you just remain her friend. Close, deep, caring friend. Here's how that will help:

Your friend will reach many crossroads in her life. Some small and some major. Maybe she will get into trouble one day, the kind of trouble that will jolt her and maybe make her think, for about 5 seconds, of changing her life. Or maybe something will happen in her life that will make her think, for about 5 seconds, what life is all about.

That will happen. And when it does, you want to be the person she calls to talk to about it. You want to be the person who she knows she can call at 3:00 AM when she's in trouble. You want to be there when she is ready.

And she won't let you in then, unless you're there for her now, when she's not yet ready. So don't abandon her. Help her with her emotional state, and whatever else she needs in whatever way you can. This may take a long time. Years, perhaps. And there's something about this you should bear in mind:


In other words, if you're gonna pretend to care about her cuz maybe you’ll be able to help her, it won’t work. You have to really care, really lose sleep over her plight, really really want to be there for her when she's in trouble.

If you really care about her for her, then you have a license to help her when she's ready.

It can be done.

qwert Posted - 10 August 2000 20:32

Moderator you said after this girl or it could be any person in this situation gets hit in the head then we should be there for her/him, but what happens if it’s a fatal hit. I can imagine someone that dropped so fast like that girl, would have a lot of problems, and I don't know about this girl but I do know people that have taken drugs. what happens if it’s an OD? The school killed her, so first the school kills the kid mentally and then can cause physical harm. What gives a school a right to do that?

Also busha is equivalent to killing, well id be dead embarrassed to say I got kicked out of this school, maybe not to my close friends but to have that on my name that’s downright embarrassing and not fair.

And one more thing last yr right before school ended my principal came into the class and said I'm thinking about getting a new girl for your class next yr, and she said her name and someone thought they knew her and they were like what are you doing, well anyways this person got disaccepted and after we found out it was a different person totally.

They say you should preach what you teach, so I'd be scared to know what these schools are really trying to teach us

- 11 August 2000 17:02


It is very unlikely that the first "hit" a kid sustains will be fatal. The way these things work, it's a slower progression than that, and she will need you way before she OD's. The kids you heard about who OD'ed did not do it suddenly. One was "on the streets" for years before he died, AND was hanging around with a known heroin addict and person of ill repute from whom he obtained the drugs that killed him. All of them, without exception, did not OD before a lengthy time period of being in need of help. Don't worry. You be there for your friend, and you will maximize the chances of her not being another victim of the streets.

qwert Posted - 14 August 2000 12:41

But it’s a start, and a start to the wrong way so if schools say they care they should at least pretend they care.

I just found out that kid got kicked outta of my school (didn’t know her she’s 2 grades older) for listening to non Jewish music on a shabbaton. Basically my whole school listens to non Jewish music on premises and they just know how to hide it, and also it’s not the worse thing in the world.

Ok maybe detention and an assignment, but this kid got kicked out and now she is not in a bais yaakov anymore were prob lucky she’s still frum, but she’s barely there because she’s in a school where everything’s ok.

Now what excuse does a school have for kicking out a 9th grader for listening to radio, and I highly doubt she did anything because she was looking to strive higher, she came from a modern family, but the principal knew that and took that chance, so now what did the school accomplish?

All I see is that they made on girl lower and she coulda been higher yet, and other girls could’ve watched her and grown from her. in my old school they took in a kid that wanted to go to yeshiva and knew basically nothing, what was right what was wrong, and everyone tried to teach her and make her feel welcome, and at least me, I grew from that. and the school took a chance cuz from public school to bais yaakov... so I don’t understand my current school, like I said before they should not have taken what they can’t handle cuz after it becomes their prob

MODERATOR Posted - 14 August 2000 14:45

You're right that although a school does not have a responsibility to take in any student, once they do take them in, they have a responsibility for his or her welfare. I have heard this in the name of the Chazon Ish, and have seen it written by Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky, the Rosh Yeshiva of Philadelphia.

I can't defend this school's actions, qwert, and it wouldn't even be fair, not to your friend or the school, for me to try, since you can't judge a situation without hearing everyone's version of the story.

But there is no question that schools need to learn better how to handle problems that their students have. It's not their fault that they can't handle it, it's just that nobody told them to expect these problems. So now we have teachers and schools that are greatly unprepared for what is happening now.

There are schools that are trying, but the schools do not exist in a vacuum, meaning, the way they do things is not only the result of the way they believe things should be done, but the way the community wants them to do things. They need, whether we like it or not (and we do not!) the financial support of people who have no idea what education is about, and the support of parents who whether we like it or not (and we do not!) who have no idea what education is about, or else nobody will send their kids to the school.

Therefore what emerges is that the schools need the approval of people who have cannot tell the difference between their toes and their elbows, education-wise. This is sick, but it is reality.

Often, a school is forced into a position that if they do the right thing, they will suffer, because what is right isn't necessarily what is popular with the parent body or the supporters.

qwert Posted - 15 August 2000 12:56

But what the parent body and the supporters don’t realize is what if it was their child, what if they're kid was about to be kicked for the stupidest reason or something bigger, everything can be helped there are ways, schools should know ways that’s their job, and instead of the supporters and parent body making a kid feel like crap why don’t they try to help and be true parent body and supporters, and helping kids instead of turning more off than on. Do you know that when a kid gets kicked out of school not only do they feel resentment but so do their friends.

MODERATOR Posted - 15 August 2000 16:29

qwert, you are correct. Unfortunately, the lives of every student in the school is sometimes in the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry on the street who can put pressure on a school as a parent, supporter, or politician to make decisions that are in their own interest rather than the interest of the lives of the students.

qwert Posted - 16 August 2000 15:07

So why must the school listen, isn’t the school around to help the children. if this is all they care about, and these kicked out kids that end up in public school must be better off

MODERATOR Posted - 16 August 2000 17:34

Well, sometimes the school must listen because if it doesn't there will be no more school, and the students will not be better off then. Sometimes the school indeed should not listen. (Adults can succumb to peer pressure, too.)

But one thing is certain, even though, as rys said, we live in an imperfect world, the yeshivas are the least messed up of all educational systems out there. Compared to public school, the yeshivos are Gan Eden.

qwert Posted - 01 September 2000 6:15

So basically what your saying is the schools excuse is that they havta listen to their biggest supporters, the richest ones and do wtvr they say. That is so wrong. My family is well off, and my principal treats me dif than those who aren’t, and I think that’s so wrong. I don’t do it, so why should they?

Aren’t they supposed be our role models, someone to look up to, when their sick twisted ppl. If I only hung out with my well off friends I wouldn’t have some amazing friends that I have now, that kept me on the derech and made me rise higher. So you know for a change the schools should learn from the student’s cuz their not setting a good example, at all.

MODERATOR Posted - 01 September 2000 21:37

You're right, it is wrong. But who's to blame? Not just the schools. I am reprinting here an article I wrote a number of years ago. The newspaper referred to in the article in based in London, England:

Passing the Parcel Revisited:
How to Change the System

The problem of Orthodox children disenfranchised from our community because Yeshivos will not accept them has attained frightening proportions.

To be sure, the predicament is one of elitism, but blame for it cannot be placed exclusively on our Mosdos HaTorah. The letters to the editor in latest edition of the Jewish Tribune correctly identified the culprits in many cases to be unreasonable and heartless parents who pressure schools into not admitting what they so cruelly refer to as nebuch cases. But the imprint of the community on the Yeshivos’ admissions standards is more complex, and much more subtle, than that.

An elitist policy is of no value to a school unless elite schools are subject to superior reputations. These reputations are created not by the school itself, but by the community at large. Curiously - and this is where the community’s share in the problem lies - the communal ooh’s and ahh’s at the aristocracy of an elite student body is no wise diminished by the fact that said aristocracy was achieved by skewering the chances of less elite students for a quality Yeshiva education.

Rejection is not an experience to be taken lightly. Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz (Sichos Mussar) writes that rejection is the most painful of experiences, and it is that which was responsible for the creation of our arch enemy, Amalek. The pain that created evil incarnate is what we are today subjecting 12 and 13 year old children to.

A Yeshiva today, writes Rav Yitzchok Hutner (Pachad Yitzchok, letters, 75) is like Noach’s teivah. It is not a place of spiritual luxury, but a life-preserving shelter from the unrelenting tidal wave of societal tumah.

Depositing a young boy outside of the Yeshiva is tantamount to making him walk the plank. Sometimes it may be necessary, but how many taaneisim, how much tehillim, and how much ruthlessly objective soul searching must accompany the ultimate judgment made regularly by menahalim of mi yichyeh umi yamus?

What is the fate of a boy without a Yeshiva? Our experience shows that in as short as five weeks on the street, a young ben Torah can turn into a mechalel Shabbos. Stripped of his pride and self-esteem, hurting with the searing pain of rejection, he finds the acceptance and the warmth he suddenly aches for among the denizens of the street. Through the haze of his confusion and pain, he sees in the degrading counterculture of rebellion the saving of his pride, his only hope of acceptance, and the restoration of his shattered self-image.

It is these rejected Yiddishe neshomos, these nebuch cases, that the elitist institutions should be thanking for their cream of the crop reputations - for their souls were the coin with which those reputations were purchased.

And so there is something quite amiss in a society that bestows the adoration of nobility to an institution that it believes made its way to the top by depositing Jewish children on the street, there to have their potentials slowly whittled away by an environment of the basest order.

Elitism born out of a desire to garner the foremost reputation can only exist if we, the community, endow elitists with the foremost reputation.

We can change the system.

This is how:

We need to shift the bearings of esteem to include those among us with the vision and the courage to save these beautiful neshomos. Those Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva who have taken it upon themselves to open their doors to discarded nebuch cases should be given kovod melochim. They should be placed on a pedestal and accorded the admiration and respect due to those who have a share in the salvation of a generation. Sarah Schenierer obtained the most honorable place in Jewish history for her vision and courage and action on behalf of the children of her generation. Today’s pioneers in Kiruv Kerovim should be accorded no less.

Prominent askonim must begin to consider it an honor to support institutions that do what is right rather than what is best for their reputation. It ought to be considered a privilege to be part of the saving of souls that these heroes are accomplishing. We, the community, need to create a climate where it is more advantageous for someone who is collecting money for a Yeshiva to say “We cater to all kinds of students,” than to say “We take only the best.”

We, the community, create our Yeshivos’ reputations, and we control which institutions are perceived as “superior.”

A Short Term Solution

Community involvement can work on another, more direct level as well, but one which demands the cooperation of the full spectrum of its leadership.
The problem of children being unfairly forced into public school or the streets can only exist if there is no accountability on the part of the school to an outside authority. As frum Jews, we all want to follow Daas Torah, but sometimes a vested interest can cause one to see things a bit less objectively than one should. A session with an objective Torah authority who hears both sides of the story would be a tremendous assistance for anyone - parent, rebbi, menahel, or businessman - who wants to do the right thing and is honest enough to realize that when the Torah says shochad yaaver einei pikchim, it applies to him, too. No good Jew should object to running his policies through the gauntlet of Daas Gedolei Torah.

However, it is not always sufficient for a parent or a menahel to just "ask a Sheailah." Sometimes the parent and the menahel will see the facts so differently that when they ask their individual shealos to their individual Rabbonim, you would not recognize that they were talking about the same case. Each side may accuse the other, rightly or wrongly, of having a negios - the parent's interest in the welfare of their child and the menahel's interest in maintaining his school's elite status.

Therefore, just as a rebbi can bring a school to a din Torah when he feels he was unfairly dismissed from his job, a parent should be able to bring a school to a din Torah when they feel their child was unfairly dismissed from his studies. Our community has the ability to

establish specially designated, perhaps even ad-hoc batei din of objective and capable authorities, where Daas Torah will decide each case on its own merits. This is why it can work:

If an institution should refuse to cooperate because they insist they are a "private enterprise", and not accountable to the Torah authorities of the community, then the community has a right to know this. Let the community, from whom the Yeshiva gets their funding, know that this Yeshiva declares itself not to be a community institution, but a private enterprise; serving the needs not of the community but the desires of its own administration; that it is not accountable to the gedolim of the community but rather to itself. This is the Yeshiva's own policy. A community has the right to know the hashkofos of the schools they are supporting. If this is the school's shitah, they ought not be ashamed of it.

One last note: I cannot overemphasize that it would be a crime to misconstrue the above information and mistakenly conclude that all or even most Yeshivos are forcing Jewish children into the streets. Yeshivos are the lifeblood of the Torah world. They are kodosh. Without them, all our children would chas v'sholom be swept away by the mabul. However, there are parents who must deal with such unfortunate cases, even one of which is way too many.

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