JERUSALEM — In a move which received the approval of leading Religious Zionist rabbis, parents in a Givat Shmuel school have moved their children into a separate class outside the school in protest over a transgender girl studying with them.

The story broke last September after teachers at the Moreshet Neria religious school in Givat Shmuel discovered that one of the students in the third grade class was actually female but identified as male. The teachers were extremely perplexed but also angry and insulted that they had not been informed of the situation by the principal. Some teachers considered resigning as they saw this as “the end of the religious school system” if such children can legally be accepted and take part in studies without their gender being revealed.

The school principal, under pressure from the National-Religious Educational Authority, asked the teachers to refer to the student as a male but teachers and parents were incensed at the strange request. Meanwhile the girl, still dressed as a boy with Tzitzis and Kippa, has suffered socially and has no friends in her class from either gender. Attempts to persuade her parents to transfer her to another school have also failed.

Currently the class is mixed-gender but from 4th grade the class will split into two separate classes for boys and girls, making the situation even more awkward for the boys who will learn with the girl.

In the wake of the publicity the issue received, parents who became aware of the situation started demonstrating against the school for keeping the girl in the class. The parents warned that they would take legal steps if “the girl does not come to school dressed according to the school’s directives.”

When the school refused to change its policy, the parents of boys in her class removed their children and set up a new class outside the school, attempting to raise funds for the class, psychological assistance for their children and their public fight against the local school.

In a campaign entitled “Our children, our education, our decision. Stopping the progressive coercion”, the parents argued that “the class is a test for the entire national religious system- tomorrow it could happen in your child’s school.”

Rabbi Yaakov Ariel and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu offered support to the parents and visited their children. Rabbi Ariel, rabbi of Ramat Gan, said that this was a class where “Torah is studied and halacha is maintained properly as it should be in a religious school.” Rabbi Eliyahu praised the parents for their courage in preventing their children from “spiritual confusion” by mixing with a girl “born like any other girl but whose parents decided that if she dressed and acted like a boy, people would relate to her normally.” He said that this could sow confusion in the minds of the young children as to their gender and “they are forced to live a lie” in accepting the girl as a male. “We need to stop this madness,” Rabbi Eliyahu concluded.

As reported by VINnews