Several students have been expelled from a Melbourne private school because parents refused to agree to keep quiet about the alleged sexual abuse of their literal children.
The private Jewish school in St Kilda, Cheder Levi Yitzchok, had last month proposed reinstating a student who was the subject of a police investigation for complaints of sexual abuse towards other younger students. The parents of the alleged victims, who are siblings, were obviously a little concerned.
But upon voicing those concerns to the school’s founder and acting principal Eliezer Kornhauser, they were told to pack their children’s school books and leave.
“As of Monday 5th December, your children are no longer welcome to attend the school,” Kornhauser said in a letter to parents seen by The Age.
The letter said the students could only be welcomed back in 2023 if the parents signed a memorandum of understanding that limited what they could say about the alleged abuse of their own kids.
“We would need to see clear evidence of a change in your mindset, leading to a very different set of behaviours on your part,” the letter read.
The memorandum said parents could talk to authorities about the alleged abuse, but not other school staff, parents, advocacy groups and certainly not the media if they wanted their children to return as students.
“If you choose another course — which of course you are at liberty to do — you cannot maintain your relationship with our school.”
Jewish child sexual abuse advocacy group VoiCSA has since asked the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority to suspend the school’s registration “due to immediate concerns for the safety of children”.
“Attempts to silence victims/survivors of child sexual abuse in the interests of protecting the reputation of an institution are abhorrent, incompatible with the minimum standards of a registered school and contrary to Jewish law,” a spokesperson for VoiCSA said in a statement on Monday.
Kornhauser wrote a response on Tuesday, calling the statements by VoiCSA “slanderous” and said the school decried any and all acts of child sexual abuse.
The Victorian school regulator has launched a review of the school’s safety.
Help is available.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.