Yeshiva classroom (illustrative)
Yeshiva classroom (illustrative)Flash 90

A group of Orthodox protesters have rallied outside the UK Department of Education, accusing an MP’s proposed education bill of being antisemitic and attacking Orthodox education by establishing a register of all school-age children in the country, according to the UK Jewish News.

The protest was in response to Conservative MP Flick Drummond who is proposing greater oversight of children not on the official education rolls. Drummond told parliament on Tuesday that due to not having data, the government has lost track of unregistered children who have “disappeared from the school roll” with some for unknown reasons and others “under the guise of home education.”

The protesters said that Drummond’s proposal to keep track of children not on an official school registry was an attempt to take away the rights of Jewish families to educate their children as they see fit.

However, Drummond said that she supported parental school choice but was concerned that many children are having “home education [that is] not up to standard, and in some cases one which is non-existent.”

The protesters attacked the proposed bill with signs alleging it was “antisemitic” and was “attacking Torah education,” according to the news outlet. They handed out literature to passerby explaining that their protest was from “parents and leaders of the strictly Orthodox Jewish community” who were against the proposal, which they alleged would “lead to blanket surveillance of responsible parents with the government watching all the time, taking away their freedom to choose how their children get educated.”

Protest leader Rabbi Asher Gratt was quoted in the pamphlet saying: ”We are standing up for parents and their children who don’t want an education system that is forced upon them or changes with every new trend. We are determined to protect religious freedom. With our history of enduring persecutions we possess a heightened awareness of where this register will lead….”

Drummond described the bill as letting “local authorities to find and support children left on the fringes.”

It has received all-party support and is proceeding to a second reading.