I have to go the police department to get fingerprinted in order to volunteer in David's school. I was floored. Yeshivos don't even fingerprint the teachers, and here in public school I have to be fingerprinted!
The plan is to switch David back into yeshiva at some (undetermined) point. I used to say concerning all the unknowns we faced when making the switch to public school that my worst fear is that we'll love it so much we won't want to switch him back as planned. So far I can't say that I "love" public school, but now my worst fear is that I won't want to switch him back since I've seen how dysfunctional yeshivos are even when compared to a public school I don't "love."
The whole fingerprinting issue brought this to the fore for me. It's always bothered me that yeshivos don't fingerprint teachers and, more importantly, don't institute mandatory reporting policies (as in public schools). At one point I did raise the issue with an administrator. Guess how seriously my concern was received.
As much as it bothered me, it had nothing to do with the reason we finally decided to switch David to public school. But now that he's in public school and I look back, I see some of contrasts even more clearly. I'm not talking about educational issues--which the truth is I don't know how to compare because I don't have a good reference point with which to judge--or administrative issues. But even simple safety issues like fingerprinting and mandatory reporting. (Or a little thing like using seat belts on school buses, another issue I wasted my breath on--as if school buses never get into accidents and the occupants injured. Or a nuissance like bullying. David's old school was pretty lax on bullying, but in his public school it is taken seriously.)
So my worst fear is no longer that I will love the public school. Because even if I hate it, I will feel trapped in middle with no good option. I'm not sure how I agreed to begin with to entrust David's safety with people who don't take it seriously, but now that he's no longer there, how can can I put him back in that environment?
(And some of my critics actually believe that I'm the one who is putting my child at risk of physical harm davka because I put him in public school?!)
Postscript: This post is something that's been on my mind for a couple of weeks. I finally wrote it up because of a post today on Hirhurim that references some new books that deal with sexual abuse. One of the authors, who feels very strongly about the issue, notes in a comment on the post that he is pessimistic because there is no mechanism to fix some of the underlying problems. I don't understand how people who acknowledge that community's response to abuse is flawed and at the same time admit little will change, then continue to patronize yeshivos.