(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Days after a separation wall was torn down at a Beit Shemesh school, a female guard was positioned in order to ensure separation between the secular girls and ultra-Orthodox girls.
On Wednesday morning pupils and parents were surprised to find that a makeshift blockade, constructed of chairs and tables, was erected separating the Safot VeTarbuyot school and the Mishkenot Daat haredi girls school.
Furthermore, a female guard was placed between the two schools to ensure that there would be no intermingling between the pupils. Problems arose after complaints that the guard was preventing girls from the secular school from using the rest room shared with the haredi girls.
The school made headlines earlier this month when on the first day of school, secular pupils and their parents discovered a separation wall had been erected within the school.
The Education Ministry filed an injunction calling for the haredi girls school to be removed from the premises and relocated. However, earlier this month, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the haredi girls would be allowed to use the premises of the Safot VeTarbuyot school.
The presiding judge, Arnon Darel, said that the approximately 100 pupils of Mishkenot Daat had been studying in tents, which he called “troubling [and] requiring appropriate consideration,” and he therefore refused to prevent them from studying in Safot VeTarbuyot until a full hearing and a final decision is taken on the matter.
He pointed out that the Safot VeTarbuyot school had large premises which are not fully utilized. The school has 144 enrolled pupils but capacity to teach approximately 500 pupils.
Following the ruling, the separation wall was taken down by the municipality and the two schools continued to operate on the same premises.
The Beit Shemesh Municipality issued a statement Wednesday, saying, “The Beit Shemesh Municipality voluntarily removed all external and internal partitions in full coordination with the Education Ministry.
Now everything is normal and safe, having received the approval of a safety officer.”
With regards to the new complaints, the municipality said, “This is another attempt by representatives of Safot VeTarbuyot to inflame the situation and arouse unnecessary provocations.”
According to the municipality, Mati Hota, director-general of the municipality, conducted a visit to the school and found that the complaints “could be taken care of by the school custodian,” adding that “if there was proper dialogue between the two school principals, there would be no problems and no friction.”
The municipality added that, following a dialogue between the two principals, a solution was reached for use of the girls bathroom.
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this article.
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