Rabbi Yaakov Ariel with students in the breakaway class
Rabbi Yaakov Ariel with students in the breakaway classMeirim

In the latest development in the saga of the "trans-boy" learning in a state-religious school in Givat Shmuel, this morning, a judge on the Lod District Court rejected a petition brought by the 32 sets of parents of the other children in the girl's class, who had demanded that the court enforce the school rules on the girl in question (i.e. that she adhere to Jewish law) - or, failing that, allow them to transfer their children to other schools.

The petition was rejected on administrative grounds, in light of the Education Ministry's recent decision to transfer the girl to another school. The judge added that in his opinion, the parents of other children in the class had yet to exhaust all their options for transferring their own children out of the class and to another school.

The judge added that another petition submitted on behalf of the girl herself, against the decision of the Education Ministry and the municipality, protesting her removal from the school, should also be rejected, arguing that the situation did not justify the court's intervention.

Responding to the ruling, the parents of children in the affected class expressed their severe disappointment. "The rights of our children are being trampled on. The court simply does not see them - it only sees that one child whose rights seemingly trump the rights of all the other children and their parents. In practice, the court's ruling invalidates our right to choose the form of education provided for our children and decides on our behalf what is supposedly good for us, forcing parents of children learning in the state-religious system to transfer their children to independent schools and preventing them from remaining part of the State of Israel's state education system," they said.

Michael Puah, head of the "Choosing the Family" organization, has been following the legal process and aiding the parents. "This ruling obligates the political system to take steps to ensure the independence of the state-religious education system," he said.

"Furthermore, we must never abandon the children learning in the state education system to progressive coercion. Here we have a situation in which a child not considered old enough to cross the street by herself is nevertheless considered capable of making life-altering decisions, and the system is aiding and abetting this. In many cases, this happens even against the wishes and sometimes without the knowledge of the parents, with the authorities intentionally keeping information from them. This is an absolutely intolerable situation."

The saga has been ongoing since last September, when the story first broke that a "boy" learning in a third-grade classroom in a state-religious school in Givat Shmuel was actually a girl who had been dressed as a boy by her mother since the age of two, and had been attending school in yarmulka and tzitzit for three years with not only the other children in the class, but also the teachers, unaware of the true situation. Only the principal of the school and select officials within the Education Ministry were aware of the deception, choosing to keep it secret.

Despite the fact that the judge has now ruled that the other parents have yet to exhaust their options for transferring their children to another school, the parents themselves argue that they have been trying to do precisely that for months, but the municipality has continually placed obstacles in their way. Eventually, after the Hanukkah recess, they took matters into their own hands, removed their children from the school, and set up an independent and privately funded class off the school premises.

Last week, the Education Ministry finally agreed to move the girl to another school - and simultaneously, the school demanded that the other children in the class return to their former school and classroom, even though the girl's mother, with the aid of left-wing organizations, is appealing the Ministry's decision, meaning that the girl is still in class and the other children will therefore be forced to resume learning alongside her.

The situation has reportedly led to severe psychological issues in the majority of children in the class, some of whom are exhibiting troubling behavior. At least one has been placed on psychiatric medication. Distraught parents report that the "trans-boy" herself is certainly undergoing immense suffering, as the entire school is now aware of the situation and the girl is left largely friendless and isolated.