Family decries 'scandalous' firing of teacher

Despite receiving permission from Rebbe, teacher fired for getting driver's license that she needed to transport disabled daughter.

David Rosenberg,

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Days after the story of a haredi teacher who was fired after she received a driver’s license was publicized, relatives of the teacher confirmed that the woman was indeed removed from the school because of the license, adding that school administrators lied about the case to state officials.

The long-time educator who until recently worked at a girls’ school in the predominantly haredi town of Beit Illit said she had taken out a driver’s license to enable her to transport her special-needs daughter, after the National Insurance Institute provided the family funds to purchase a car for that very purpose.

While some Hasidic sects have placed restrictions on the acquisition and use of driver’s licenses by women and single men, the teacher had received explicit permission from her rabbi, the spiritual leader of the Hasidut with which the woman is affiliated.

According to a report in the haredi Kikar HaShabbat news outlet, following the original story on the woman’s firing, officials from the Education Ministry contacted both the school and the teacher in question.

Binyamin Hershler, who both runs the school – Beit Yaakov Reishit Hochma – and heads the municipality’s education office, denied the teacher was fired. He and other school administrators claimed the veteran educator quit on her own volition.

Hershler’s comments to the Education Ministry contradict sources inside the school, who had previously told Kikar HaShabbat that he had indeed fired the teacher, saying “I don’t care. I will not tolerate a teacher with a driver’s license.”

The principal also denied the allegations when contacted by Haaretz, saying “I don’t give interviews, but this is really, really not true.”

But according to relatives of the teacher, school officials lied to the Education Ministry and Haaretz newspaper, saying that not only was she fired from her position over the license, but school administrators were exerting pressure upon her and her family not to cooperate with the ministry’s investigation of the matter.

Ministry officials who reached out to the teacher say she refused to comment on the issue.

The relatives, who spoke to Kikar HaShabbat on condition of anonymity, called the case “scandalous”, saying that the school’s behavior constituted “a great injustice bordering on evil”.

They added that not only were school officials pressuring the teacher and her family, they had also made explicit warnings to other teachers who had backed the woman in question, demanding they not assist the Education Ministry’s investigation.

Some administrators from the school spoke off the record with Kikar HaShabbat to explain the institution’s behavior in the matter.

“There is no Beit Yaakov school anywhere in the country that has a teacher with a driver’s license, so while she really does not have any choice and she may take out a license, she cannot continue to serve as a teacher.”




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