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YWN Coffee Room » Bais Medrash

Need Source for Allowing or Not Allowing Teacher to Confiscate Items

(38 posts)
  • Started 2 years ago by SayIDidIt™
  • Latest reply from iced

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  1. SayIDidIt™
    Why does everyone (except me) want a subtitle so much?

    Can someone please give me a source for allowing or not allowing a Rebbi, Teacher, Morah, Rebbe, Mechanech, Menahel, Principal, Rosh HaYeshiva etc. to confiscate personal property from students? What about permanently? And what if it is an "Assured" item (eg. iPad, non-"Kosher" Cell Phone etc.)?

    Please state if the "Source" allows or not.

    A real source (Sefer, page, Perek, Sif...) or even quote would be the best, but any real answer will help tremendously!

    Thanks in advance!

    SiDi™

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. popa_bar_abba
    Incorrigible; eccentric; somewhere between mean and average; sometimes only a bit over the top; arbitrarily engaged in cynicism.

    Seems a bit problematic. Even if the school has such a policy and you have to agree to it, it would need to be done in a way that it is not asmachata. How likely is that?

    No?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. SayIDidIt™
    Why does everyone (except me) want a subtitle so much?

    I don't really want to discuss it (here). I NEED SOURCES!!
    But thanks for responding! :)

    SiDi™

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. "Lo Sigzol" comes to mind.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. In common law it is called "Larceny". look it up.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. sam4321
    Member

    See Igros Moshe YD 4:30 and 4:31 I believe it talks about hitting and how a teacher should act, maybe it talks about something similar.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. popa_bar_abba
    Incorrigible; eccentric; somewhere between mean and average; sometimes only a bit over the top; arbitrarily engaged in cynicism.

    You aren't going to find precise sources. You want sources for asmachta lo kanya?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. 147
    -105

    Based on a Possuk in Parshas Rishon of Kedoshim, it is 100% Ossur mid'Orraisso to steal; Confiscation is just a cover up word, for nothing short of full fledged stealing.

    Note:- I did not say based on the 8th commandment, because contrary to the translation in most Chumoshim, the 8th commandment is "Don't Kidnap" which is not the topic being discussed in this coffee room.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. akuperma
    Member

    You contractually agreed to follow the school rules. By halacha, adults can enter into contracts. If the child, if under Bar MItzvah, is the only one to agree with the rules, the school has no authority since the child is a katan.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  10. Imma613
    Member

    Ahh so the administration or a teacher confiscated something and now you want to bring sources as to why they should return it...

    I think that if you knew coming into the school year that whichever electronic device was forbidden, you should have expected that they would follow thru. Even if it was the stupidest rule ever in your opinion, that's the way it goes.

    Maybe ask your parents to speak to the menahel?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. shein
    Joseph

    akuperma: The under bar mitzvah child owns no property. It belongs to his parents, who can enter into a contract. Thus it can be confiscated per the parents contractual agreement with the school.

    (Or am I mistaken about all of a katan's objects are his parents property?)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  12. Sam2
    The Even-Keeled and Erudite Shmuely Wollenberger from Las Vegas

    I recall seeing a Tshuvah (maybe in the Igros?) saying that it's bad Chinuch because it teaches the child that stealing is okay. I don't remember precisely where though.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  13. Baal Boose
    Member

    I Have personally seen the following Psak.
    A teacher who hits a child for good reason and (mistakenly) kills him is P'tur from Golus. Similar to a doctor during surgery, or a court officer who whips within the proper amount.
    THEREFORE; since a teacher/rebbe has physical authority over his students, their possessions are forfeit.
    So yes the teacher, when acting in good faith- has full right to confiscate and not return.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. SayIDidIt™
    Why does everyone (except me) want a subtitle so much?

    Imma613, I am looking for both ways. I was just giving a case where one can, maybe, efsher, say that it is even mutter to destroy such a thing.

    I want to know what the Gedolim paskened on such cases.

    I am looking for a שו"ת type of passak. This Shaila must have been asked to some Geddolim/Poskim, no?

    SiDi™

    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. AriInMD
    Member

    I don't have a source, but I have a story:

    A troubled high school boy living in the dorms at Rav Aharon Soloveichik's yeshiva in Chicago was caught with pornography. Rav Soloveichik called the young man into his office.

    Holding the offensive magazine (in a paper bag) Rav Soloveichik asked the young man "do I have your reshus to destroy this magazine?"

    The young man was taken aback. He had expected Rav Soloveichik to give him a stern lecture, call his parents, or threaten to expel him.

    "This magazine belongs to you," said the Rav. "Halachically I cannot destroy it without your permission. As repulsive as I find this, I cannot take it from you, or I would be over on 'lo tignof.'"

    The incident made an impression on the student, who had grown used to dismissing rabbis as dishonest hypocrites. By his example, Rav Soloveichik showed a troubled young man that Torah is an all-consuming way of life. It does not allow for shortcuts, exceptions, or special licence for adults in charge.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. SayIDidIt™
    Why does everyone (except me) want a subtitle so much?

    First: "I Have personally seen the following Psak", please state Sefer, Siman...

    Second, just because a teacher can hit a child, doesn't mean x
    he can confiscate his stuff. And I would guess this was a special case. If a teacher uses unreasonable force, I don't think he will be patur. Would like to see the passak.

    SiDi

    Posted 2 years ago #
  17. Sam2
    The Even-Keeled and Erudite Shmuely Wollenberger from Las Vegas

    SiDi: That's a Gemara in Makkos. And I believe the Rishonim there point out that if he uses unreasonable force he is Chayav for murder, but I haven't seen it in a very long time so I'm not positive.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  18. besalel
    Member

    for many years it was thought acceptable for teachers to assault the children and now it is widely accepted as criminal behavior. here too, it is now commonly understood that a school that confiscates a ipod, etc. is committing larceny. All it takes is for a couple of these teachers/principals to be led away in handcuffs like the hitting teachers were and this disgusting practice will come to an end.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  19. Baal Boose
    Member

    Say i did it;
    I dont recall where. If i did i would have quoted. (not everything in one's memory banks can be automatically recalled as to where it originates.
    Yes if he has control over his student's body (to hit) he has control ovwr his possesions.
    And of course if a teacher uses unreasonable force of course he is guilty.
    If i remember where i saw this, i'll write back.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  20. This name is already taken
    I have 2 subtitles both of which aren't listed.

    How about taking and returning after class is that mutar

    Posted 2 years ago #
  21. yitzchokm
    Member

    .....All it takes is for a couple of these teachers/principals to be led away in handcuffs like the hitting teachers were and this disgusting practice will come to an end.

    what do you believe is the correct response to not following rules?
    I believe that confiscation is the best way to deal with it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  22. sam4321
    Member

    SIDI: This is the exact case you are talking about.

    http://www.businesshalacha.com/articles/educational-damage

    Posted 2 years ago #
  23. SayIDidIt™
    Why does everyone (except me) want a subtitle so much?

    sam4321: Thanks!

    SiDi™

    Posted 2 years ago #
  24. voldemort
    Member

    very simply: part of attending an institution is following the rules. if the rules state that items can be confiscated, then by staying in said institution, you are tacitly agreeing to that rule. why is this so complicated?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  25. If confiscation is assur, then the contract allowing this is not acceptable. Let's just change one word. Instead of confiscation, let's substitute molestation. If your child misbehaves, the rebbe/menahel has the right too molest him/her. Now that's obviously bizarre, and no one normal would accept it. If confiscation is גזלה, how should a contract make it muttar?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  26. interjection
    in·ter·jec·tion noun 1. an abrupt remark, made esp. as an aside or interruption

    I think the answer is what Haleivi said in a similar thread. If the student wants to stay in the class, the student must abide by the rules. If the student would rather keep his possessions, he has the option of leaving the class and his grade will reflect that he was not in attendance.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  27. farrocks
    Joseph

    TLIK: It isn't גזלה since the parties effectively agreed to allow that condition beforehand. And there is nothing wrong with contractually agreeing to that condition. It would be no different than if you and I contractually agreed that if the Yankees win the world series your wristwatch becomes mine. Then my taking your wristwatch after the Yankees win is not גזלה.

    A second and additional point allowing it is that the teacher is essentially saying "if you wish us to continue allowing you to be a student of this school, the cost is for you to surrender that cell phone". The student can choose to not pay the price of surrendering the cell phone, keep it, and leave the school. It is the schools legal, moral and disciplinary right to enforce that condition.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  28. YITZCHOK2
    Member

    The odds are if the Rebbe confiscated it during class it was causing the student not to learn so you should be ecstatic that he took it away from him. Obviously if it is something that is worth a lot then the Rebbi should make arrangements that you can pick up the item from him. If your child has some issues that would cause him to really be hurt that it was taken away that would change the equation and you should discuss with the Rebbe. Looking for a source either way is a waste of time what you need is what is is best for yoru child's education. I am sure the Rebbi wants the same thing - if he doesn't you have a larger issue how can you get a person who does not belong in teaching out of his job. good luck.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  29. Yitzchok2:

    I disagree, and strongly so. Having observed this practice for years, it is clear that it can be done in a manner in which it is educational. That is what I would want for my child. That rebbe returns the item, either at the end of the day or week, or to the parents. Keeping the item is unquestionably גזלה. Even if you remove the technicality of it via contract (if that actually works), it is still bad chinuch. It is punishing, not educational, and that is NOT called chinuch.

    Your other point is simple fantasy. You noted that your parental wish for your child's best education is also that of the rebbe. I beg to differ. That is not a given anymore. Just how many rebbes in classrooms do you know who deicated their lives to continuing the transmission of Torah? Inquire a bit more, and discover that the overwhelming majority entered the field out of lack of capability of being eligible for other fields. Backing into chinuch sometimes works, where the awe of the task generates some internal motivation. But that does not explain the lives of a huge percentage of rebbes and teachers, who just need a job and a salary. I know this sounds like sour grapes, but the frequency of interaction I have with the education field plus the parents, like me, who patronize it, makes optimism harder to grasp.

    It is also alarming to watch the development of stricter and more abusive forms of "discipline" while the chinuch system tries so hard NOT to be mekarev the talmidim to connect them to the chain of transmission of Torah. Read through the contracts with yeshivos. Does the document highlight the responsibilities of the yeshiva to make your child feel nurtured and encouraged to progress in Torah based growth, or is the bulk of the terms forms of retribution for breaking rules? I read through many such contracts, and they are sickening. They reveal an attitude that bears no resemblance of what our leaders wanted chinuch to represent.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  30. venahapoich Hu
    Sober on Purim

    what happens if the rbbe confiscates the talmid's shoes???????????

    Wasn't there a thread on it recently????????

    Posted 2 years ago #
  31. I wish to add one note to my last comment. Those who wish to advocate for chinuch, believing that the systems in place are perfectly in tune with promoting ratzon Hashem, consistently blame each and every problem observed to "dysfunctional families".

    I ask these people, "If you discovered a talmid who reported having a parent who confiscated things without returning them just to teach a lesson and comply with rules, would you brand that family as dysfunctional?" We know the answer. Well, allowing a yeshiva to carry out a consequence that is otherwise considered abusive or dysfunctional is self-contradictory.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  32. farrocks
    Joseph

    Parents who take away inappropriate items (or items utilized inappropriately) from their children, are practicing good parenting. Same with teachers.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  33. RABBAIM
    Member

    If the policy is clearly stated and communicated that "if you bring a cellphone into school it will be confiscated and not returned" then by bringing in the phone the person is effectively mafkir it. He knows the consequences in advance and does it anyway. Then it is not gzaila. If there is no such policy, then it cannot be taken form the child beyond the time when it will harm other children. If the policy is clear it is like hefker or yiush midaas!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  34. iced
    Joseph

    New York City Public Schools confiscate students cell phones as a matter of official policy. Perhaps the complainers here should march to Gracie Mansion in protest.

    Oh, the goyim too recognize the wisdom of this policy.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  35. Rabbaim:

    Placing a condition that is illegal in a contract does not legitimize it. If confiscating and keeping an item is stealing, then it cannot be included in a contract. That clause does not make it hefker or generate yiush. It does reflect on the morals of the one who demanded it. It also points to the bullying that occurs in the contracts with yeshivos, where we parents are forced to agree to prevent our children from being rejected or refused.

    Iced: I worked for the Dept of Ed. There was no policy about cell phones as you described. In fact, the suggestion to ban cell phones was rejected by all the leaders in the Dept and the NYC government because doing so would prevent children and parents from communicating in case of emergency. 9/11 was the demise of that suggestion, and it has never passed muster since then. We were allowed to take the cell phones, but to return them at the end of the school day. If the infractions were more serious, we were allowed to notify parents that the phones would be returned to them, not the child.

    Here are a few direct quotes (translation mine):

    ספר שכר והענשה בחינוך - הר"ר מאיר מונק - בהסכמת הר"ר שמואל הלוי וואזנר שליט"א

    It is the right of the mechanech to confiscate a toy that is being played with during the shiur, and it is his obligation. But there are different ways of taking it. It can be taken with grabbing and anger, or it can be taken in a pleasant manner...... It is proper to set a date to return the object, Friday, every Rosh Chodesh, or the end of the term. If it is an object that should not be returned to the child, it should be given to the parents with the message that they should insure the child does not bring it to school.

    ספר מלאכת ה' על הלכות מלמדים - הר"ר ישראל יוסף ברונשטיין - בהסכמות הרבה גדולי א"י

    (Free translation) The question is posed whether the mechanech confiscating is muttar, since the issur of genaivoh applies to children as victims just like adults. If the assumed heter is that it facilitates limud haTorah, it falls with the category of מצוה הבאה בעבירה, and it is forbidden. The Mishneh Halachos (From R' Menashe Klein ZT"L) says this is not technically stealing because of the responsibility of the melamed. However, to confiscate an object with no intention of returning it, is assur.

    In the above references, the issue of whether this "chinuch" actually teaches a negative lesson (teaching the child that stealing is permissible) is not addressed. That is addressed by R' Moshe Feinstein ZT"L, which is the basis for his psak to not take it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  36. iced
    Joseph

    That condition is NOT illegal being in a contract.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  37. iced:

    If there is specific agreement on confiscating objects, perhaps you're right, though it is still immoral and bad chinuch. But as a term stuffed into a contract which a parent is under pressure to sign, it is not a truly agreed term. This has precedent in both halacha and in secular law. So it remains an illegal act, and is best "legitimized" but not kashered by inclusion in a contract.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  38. iced
    Joseph

    It is moral, ethical, completely legal and very good chinuch.

    Please cite where in Shulchan Aruch that if a contract is agreed upon due to little other choice, that invalidates the contract. There is no such thing.

    Posted 2 years ago #

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