Q: I work as a rotating kindergarten teacher in a number of pre-schools. In one of the classes there is a child I know well from last year, who has behavioral issues. Though we’ve seen significant progress since last year, this student still presents a real challenge to the teaching staff. Her teacher, therefore, often complains to me about her unruly behavior and irritating pranks.
Is it permissible for me to encourage the teacher by telling her that since the student, baruch Hashem, has come a long way since last year, her efforts will also eventually pay off, or would it be considered lashon hara about the student’s past?
A: You may encourage the teacher by telling her that her efforts will pay off, proving your point with your experiences from last year. This would not be considered lashon hara for several reasons, including the following two: 1) It will serve a constructive purpose by helping the teacher understand that it is worth investing in this student as it will yield results, b’siyatta diShmaya. 2) The girl’s abnormal behaviors are common knowledge, they’re still obvious to all, and are not much different from last year when she was slightly more problematic.
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