Day Schools Focusing On Combating Abuse

September 15, 2010
A new study, the first of its kind, on whether and how Jewish day schools around the country address issues of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, concludes that the problem is widespread but “is beginning to be dealt with effectively.”
More than 40 percent of 320 schools polled — primarily Modern Orthodox but including Conservative, community schools and “a sprinkling” of haredi yeshivas — responded to the questionnaire, a surprisingly high figure, according to the study’s sponsor, the Institute for University-School Partnership, a division of Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.
The findings, shared withThe Jewish Week, were scheduled to be released Sept. 15 at a forum at Yeshiva University for day school administrators and educators.
The study found that more than one-third of the responding schools made official mandated reports of abuse in the last year.
Activists on behalf of abuse victims in the Jewish community are welcoming the study as a much-needed professional and systematic effort to quantify and respond to the problem. But they point out that haredi and chasidic schools are most prone to unreported incidents of abuse and are little represented in the YU findings.
Updated: Sep. 21, 2010