Emmanuel school found in contempt of court for segregation

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
April 8, 2010 04:41
1 minute read.

 
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The High Court of Justice ruled Wednesday that an independent educational center operating haredi schools was in contempt of court, after one of the schools operated by it, the Beit Ya’acov Girls’ School in Emmanuel, failed to implement a prior court ruling ordering it to stop discriminatory practices against Sephardi students.

The decision also set a NIS 5,000 fine for every day the school continues to avoid following the court’s ruling.

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The school belongs to the recognized but unofficial stream and is entitled to full state funding.

Following a previous court ruling eight months ago forbidding discrimination at the school, Education Ministry inspectors visited and found that while physical barriers designed to separate Ashkenazi and Sephardi students had been removed (dividing walls, separate entrances and teachers’ rooms) only Sephardi students were showing up; Ashkenazi parents had begun to refrain from sending their children to the school, in order to halt its operation.

The judges also proclaimed that parents of Ashkenazi students refusing to attend the school would be liable for subpoenas to explain their actions, ultimately risking contempt of court, a fine or imprisonment. The parents will also be required to explain where their children studied in the meantime.

The original High Court ruling also threatened to withdraw the school permit and halt its budget unless the situation was rectified.

The Education Ministry had ordered the school shut down in the past and warned that police would be called in if necessary.



Teachers at the school were also summoned by the court, to investigate whether they had been privately tutoring the “striking” Ashkenazi students at home.

The High Court petition was submitted two months ago by representatives of the school’s Sephardi students.

The court added that the conduct of the school’s operators was intended to close the doors of hassidic education to Sephardi girls only due to their ethnic origin.

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