Employee fingerprinting and background checks need to be mandatory, not optional. And child abuse occurring in religious schools must be reported to the government – it should not be optional. All child protection laws protecting public school children should be extended to the nonpublic schools. Are fire extinguishers optional for non-public schools? Of course not.
Indeed, the 1,000 Orthodox rabbis of the Rabbinical Council of America agree that our yeshivas need to be governed by child protection laws. Their May 2007 resolution, “RCA Seeks to Combat Abuse of Children by Applying Public School Standards to Nonpublic Schools,” can be viewed at www.rabbis.org/news/article.cfm?id=100916.
The Jewish Board of Advocates for Children proposed the idea and worked closely with the RCA in securing this groundbreaking resolution that has opened many doors in government and our communal institutions.
The war on child abuse continues. As we read in Pirkei Avos, the day is long and much work remains. But if not now, when?
Speak out. Speak out during National Week. Speak out as if your children’s lives depend on it. Because they do.
Elliot Pasik, Esq., is an attorney in private practice. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.