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Haredi Jews in UK protest education proposals deemed ‘repressive’

“Parents know what is best for their children. They don’t need others telling them what to do,” said community activist Rabbi Asher Gratt.

More than 400 Orthodox Jews in London rallied against plans to force the state to register home-schooled students, May 16, 2023. Photo by Georgia Gilholy.
More than 400 Orthodox Jews in London rallied against plans to force the state to register home-schooled students, May 16, 2023. Photo by Georgia Gilholy.

More than 400 haredi Jews gathered in London on Tuesday to protest plans to force the state to register students who are home-schooled.

The rally took place outside the Department of Education headquarters as Flick Drummonds, a Conservative parliamentarian, presented the bill in the House of Commons. It calls upon English and Welsh authorities to create compulsory registers of children who are educated outside of brick-and-mortar schools.

Attendees protested “repressive legislation, which would significantly compromise their way of life,” said Rabbi Asher Gratt, a co-organizer of the protest and a community activist who has promoted religious and educational causes for 50 years.

“Parents have the right to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ Parents know what is best for their children. They don’t need others telling them what to do,” he added. “If the government starts putting our children on a list and tries to make them all the same, ignoring their individuality, how can we expect the U.K. to ever lead the world in innovation and entrepreneurship again?”

British law requires children to be educated, but that can happen outside of traditional schools, according to Gratt.

“It is up to parents, not the government, to ensure that it is suitable,” he said.

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