Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: There is a woman in my neighborhood with some children who are “off the derech.” Her young daughter is in preschool with my daughter, and it is obvious from her behavior that some of her ideas do not fit with the hashkafos of a frum household. I heard that this girl is registered for first grade in the neighborhood Bais Yaakov (though her siblings are in other schools), and it seems she’ll be in my daughter’s class.

I wanted to find out if it is permissible to warn the administration about accepting this girl, with the dual purpose of protecting my daughter and the school’s reputation.

A: You ask a very delicate question. There is no one way to deal with this issue, as it hinges on many details. It is important to verify why some of their children went “off” while others are doing well, and to know if the parents took the lessons to heart and changed their ways and outlook. You must also determine if the young girl really has inappropriate ideas, or it is just imagined. After careful investigation of these and other specifics, a Rav should be consulted.

In general, it seems that you could rely on the school staff, who most certainly made thorough inquiries before accepting this student. In the meantime it is preferable to refrain from taking action, especially since you cannot be objective when you have personal interests in mind.


Mishmeres HaSholom is the international organization for increasing the study and practice of the laws of shemiras halashon. To hear a clear, concise three- to five-minute shiur on the daily segment of hilchos shemiras halashon, dial (718) 887-9628. To learn more about our programs or to become a Mishmeres HaSholom member, please call (845) 694-3275 or email office@hasholom.org.

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