Judgment regarding hasidic schools
Clara Wasserstein and Yochonon Lowen remain concerned about the future of Hasidic children
In 2015, the Lowen couple filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration that the government was violating its obligation to ensure that children receive an education in accordance with the public education regime. The lawsuit also sought a declaration that institutions that provided a predominantly religious education to these children were illegal. Today, Justice Martin Castonguay of the Quebec Superior Court dismissed the action, while acknowledging the problems experienced in the past.
The judgment confirms that the plaintiffs, like all the children in their community at that time, did not receive the education to which they were entitled under the law. The judge concluded that the proceedings were aimed at “making a difference so that children from Hasidic communities receive an appropriate education that will enable them to live in a society other than their own.” The judgment noted progress in the children’s schooling since the proceedings were instituted, but criticized Tash community leaders for resisting government efforts to educate the children of their community.
Children from the Hasidic communities are being followed more closely since the intervention of the Youth protection (DPJ), the Wilfrid Laurier School Board and the Ministry of Education in 2017. This is a victory for these children who receive more education than their parents did.
Judge Castonguay recognized that children from Hasidic communities continue to attend religious schools on a full-time basis, but did not conclude that these schools are illegal. This continues to be of concern to the Lowen couple, who see it as a barrier to the education of these children. The plaintiffs are reviewing the judgment before deciding whether to appeal it.
Link to the decision. The applicants and their attorneys will not give any interviews.
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