The Matzav Shmoooze: No Diploma for You

>>Follow Matzav On Whatsapp!<<

Dear Matzav Editor,

I am in tears for a friend of mine.

Her daughter is a twelfth grader at [Removed] Girls School located in [Removed]. They had their graduation this week. The principal told the girls that the diplomas will be given out the next day, meaning not at the graduation.

One of the excited girls went to pick up her diploma after studying for the finals and all. To her surprise, when she opened the envelope, she saw a letter stating: “We are sorry that we cannot give you your diploma, because your mother has an unfiltered iPhone.”

Can any Matzav readers explain what this girl is supposed to do?

1) Is this girl responsible for her parents’ conduct?

2) Does a school have to break a child into pieces?

3) When will people realize how to deal with situations such as these and not involve innocent children in the process?




  1. Uh Humm

    IN endless numberless articles and letters people complain,whine, inveigh that schools are supposed to be more than just education

    Now ,this school fulfills that mandate !!

  2. The mother
    understood this all well

    in advance ,and for status or
    whatever,chose to send her daughter there.

    When push comes to shove she presumed,of course, they’ll figure out how to bend the system

  3. How can a school do that to a child – rather than have the courage to speak to the parent, or ask why the parent has this type of phone – which I feel is an absurd regulation – then don’t go in the street, put on blinders and stay in your home. As a matter of fact perhaps not get an education at all !

  4. Why not post the name of the school so the evil administrators can be publicly acknowledge for their accomplishment?

  5. The reshoim who run the schools claim that they’re doing it to protect the children, but this story shows that it’s just power and gaavah. The girl is leaving your school regardless; what possible gain to your students can there be from punishing her [mother] now? You just want to balabateve zich on roshei am kodosh. Mushchosim!

  6. Rather than writing to Matzav, why not appeal to local Rabbonim to try to talk sense into the school? It is inexcusable to degrade a parent in the eyes of her daughter.

  7. To crying mother: I’m sorry to say, but an unfiltered Iphone can cause damage a million times worse than not receiving a diploma. Ask any Rov and they can testify how many homes are destroyed, how many of our children go off the derech, how much pain, unfiltered internet has and continues to cause. Would you cry if a girl broke a shidduch because the boy smokes? Would you slap your child if they played with fire? Would you punish your child if they ran across a busy road without looking? Unfiltered smartphones are worse in every way.

    I don’t mean to be so harsh, but its about time we faced reality and took responsibility for our actions. Did the parent not realize that the school prohibits unfiltered internet? I have a feeling that such measures are exactly what we need to curb this festering cancer in our society. Think about the spiritual future of klal yisroel, not just the financial future.

    We can all change if we have the will.

    • You are hundred percent right and I’m sure that they spoke with the mother about it before but she didn’t want to listen there was a time when the rabbis spoke against TV and there are stories about children Throwing out the TV without the parents permission that’s called מסירת נפש we should encourage our children to do the same if we want דורות ישרים

    • Rabbi E. – ” how many of our children go off the derech”
      Hmm and the reason?
      Unfiltered iPhones?
      Rather, its the acts like these that ‘pushed’ them OTD!

      OTD kids are all part and the fruit of THIS Chinuch system. So rather than blaming themselves, blame it on the internet. (I am not denying that the web is an issue, but there is much more involved in leading anyone OTD)

    • In all of your examples, it is something the child/boy does that he is being punished for. Here, the child is being punished for something her mother did. Do you not see the difference?

  8. Lo yumsu avos al banim, ubanim lo yumsu al avos.

    Regardless of whether the mother is doing something wrong by owning an iPhone, the school is being frummer than HKBH. They are also being cruel (and stupid) in not warning the mother that her child would not get a diploma, and not offering the mother an opportunity to argue her case, or at least remove her child to a saner school.

    It’s a charpa and a biza of the highest order. Heim asidim liten es hadin

  9. Who ripped a girl to pieces, the school or the mother who ignored the repeated warnings that there is a code of conduct for families of the school?

  10. Did the school advise all children & parents of this policy at the beginning of the school term? If so, then mother and daughter should have had a talk over this issue before beginning the school term.

    If the school did not make this public to parents & children, then there should be a diploma granted.

  11. So sad. And what about all the children who will not get diplomas, regent marks, report cards etc because their parents cannot afford to pay up what they owe? Another shining example of children suffering for what their parents do or don’t do.

    Parents need help but won’t get it because there is no community school. They are privately owned and the heads of schools do what they want. Somehow the schools feel that “in the name of chinuch and working together” they can tell parents how to run their homes and live their lives but the parents have no say in what the schools can or can’t do. Homework, tests, finals, phones, camp, vacations – you name it and the schools have their opinions. So sad that things cannot be worked out nicely.

    I know of a story a few years ago where a teacher walked into a local Bais Yaakov to be met by the principal who handed the teacher a list of students that were not allowed to take their finals that day since there were still outstanding tuition balances. The teacher informed the principal that financial matters are between parents and administration and have nothing to do with the children. The teacher, without even looking at the list ripped it in half and handed the torn paper to the principal. The principal (stunned) told the teacher that even if you have every girl take the final I will not allow them to get their marks or report cards until the balances are paid. The next morning, the teacher handed in the grades of the finals and the report card marks and told the principal that the school can do as it wishes because all of the finals were marked last night and every student received a personal call from me to let them know their test mark and their report card grade. The children were not going to suffer even for a moment because of issues with parents.

    Of course – you guessed it – the end of the story is the teacher was terminated. The teacher didn’t care because the relationship between teacher and student carried on for years. The teacher said at the time, I would have done the same thing for my child and that is why I did it for my students.

    • Oy Vey – thanks for the inspiring story! However, the problem is this teacher is ONE in a thousand.

      In my humble opinion, there should be a separate VAAD (or Vaads)of independent rabannim, that ALL Yeshivos, Schools, need to present and account for any of those kind decisions.

      The Chazon ISH ruled that expelling anyone from a Yeshivah is Dinei NEFOSHOS!

      How do we allow crucial decisions like these to be made by one or two individuals, who are basing it on whatever fits their own agenda, name, pockets etc. ?!

      No Yeshivah or School should be allowed to decide without the final p’sak of Rabnnim presiding the case!

      Our Chinuch and children are not hefker!

      Yeshivos are NOT private – after all they do accept funds from the public!

  12. To Oy Vey:
    Thank you, thank you. I know exactly what you’re talking about. My niece was in that school, in a different grade, and was called out of class and sent home because her Parents had absolutely no money left to pay for her tuition. We had a similar situation with our daughter in a different school. My daughter was called into the office with a few girls and was told to call us and let us know that she can’t go back into class because the tuition wasn’t paid in full yet. We were giving as much as we were able to each month, and they knew that, and without any scholarship, we were falling behind. My daughter came home in tears. We can not and will not forgive the school. This is the chinuch they want to impart to our Yiddisheh tochter?
    I don’t understand why the tuition crises doesn’t get any serious attention and solutions from those who are osek in tzarchei tzibbur. It seems to be swept under the carpet.

  13. How does the administration determine whether or not the phones belonging to parents of students are filtered? Did mothers have their phones checked at graduation? Before? How are corrective measures measured??

  14. Was there also a refund check for four years of tuition in that envelope? Iwould think that if they kept taking money knowing there was an iPhone then it was implied that they would also graduate her.

  15. The real villain here is the mosser who gleefully ruined this girl’s life knowing full well the repercussions… BTW people ruin peoples live not inanimate objects.

  16. I can’t understand the people who think the school is right. If the school had an issue the time to speak up is during school. What are they trying to accomplish now that she has graduated? If it is a problem it can only affect the school while the girl is actually in school. How can it harm them now that she is finished. I agree with the posters above who said that she is due a refund for 4 years and that by keeping her for the 4 years implied a willingness to allow her to get a diploma. The school is grandstanding too late.

  17. why are we all judging this story without knowing the details. there are 2 sides to every story. why is this story posted at all. we are not allowed to judge anyone until we are standing in their place. there are so many unanswered questions here.

    • Finally, a sensible post.
      The details of the story told in the letter are very incomplete and are from one perspective only. Even accepting the given details as the verbatim truth, the following info hasn’t been given:
      1) Does the school have official rules prohibiting unfiltered smartphone ownership by parents?
      2) Did the mother have a need, perhaps business-related, for an unfiltered smartphone?
      3) If the answer to “2” is “No”, was there any other legit reason she used an unfiltered smartphone?
      4) How was the mother’s unfiltered phone brought to the administration’s attention?
      5) When was the mother’s unfiltered phone brought to the administration’s attention?
      6) Did the administration discuss the issue with the mother?
      7) If the answer to “6” is “Yes”, when was it discussed?
      8) Was an ultimatum issued?
      9) If the answer to “8” is “Yes”, when was it issued? What was the mother’s response?
      10) Has any remedy been offered (e.g. “Lose the phone now and we’ll issue the diploma”)?
      11) Has the school stated point-blank that they will not issue a diploma?
      12) Has there been any communication between the family and the school since this incident?
      13) If the answer to “12” is yes, what is this incident’s current status?

  18. It obvious they don’t have money and they probably don’t have family within the administration.
    But, the parents are at fault. Why send your kids to such mosdos in the first place. If 90 percent of the peeps don’t agree with these ideas, why are they continuing sending and allowing those leaders to control their private life?
    They should somehow get together and start new mosdos based on mature and equal rights.

    • These things take on a life of their own. There are norms that persist even though, as you say, 90% of people disagree with them, because everyone thinks that everyone else thinks the norm is inviolate. No one is going to be the one to tell his neighbors that he’s the sort of person who thinks having an unfiltered phone/colored shirts/stacking plates at the Shabbos table is okay. So nobody knows what everyone thinks, except on the internet, where everyone is anonymous.

  19. Wow! Let’s calm down everyone… I’m sure this girl will receive the diploma at the end. It can’t be a closed case.
    Regarding keeping children out of class for tuition purposes… To publically remove a child from class and have him/ her call a parent is ridiculous. However, a parent is paying for a service. If the parent doesn’t pay, technically the Yeshiva doesn’t have to provide the service. Of course there are exceptions, but usually a parent agrees to pay a certain price for their child. And as much as a Yeshiva is “not a business”, the Rebbeim and teachers must get paid. A better solution is for the office to call the parents and to ask them to leave their child home so that they don’t suffer the shame of being extracted from their peers. Once again, there are exceptions to every rule and each situation should be analyzed independently!

    • The schools are a service? Technically, I guess, but can you imagine your barber or waiter or plumber requiring you to have/not have something in your home before they’ll provide the service, or refusing to complete work on a service you’ve paid for if you don’t comply?

    • “technically the Yeshiva doesn’t have to provide the service.”

      The Heads of Mosdos sit on the same table with your plumber or CPA?

  20. Take the school to a bais din. Even if there was a contract about phones it probably only threatened to throw the girl out and not to withhold the diploma.
    So its a breach of the other contract, the unspoken contract of you pay tuition you get diplome. Either return the money for the tuition or give up the diploma.

  21. “What are they trying to accomplish now that she has graduated?”


    It would be a worthwhile ,albeit belated,lesson to the rest of the students


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here