Parents ask court to order mixed-gender classes


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A group of parents has asked Israel’s Supreme Court to order their children’s school not to separate classes by gender before the fourth grade.

Israel’s Education Ministry because of high enrollment at t he Morasha state religious school in Petach Tikvah decided this year to separate the students in all grades by gender in order to prevent overcrowded classrooms. In the past, the school began separating the students by gender in the fourth grade.

"This sex segregation fits in with the growing religious radicalization trend characterizing state religious education in the past few years," the parents’ petition to the Supreme Court says. The complaint accuses the ministry of trying to turn Morasha into an "ultra-Orthodox" school.

The students eventually will learn in two separate school buildings, according to reports.

Parents at the school and the municipality have suggested dividing the proposed two school buildings into a grades 1-3 school and a grades 4-6 school rather than have all the children separated by gender. The school is known for its academic excellence.

Haaretz said the case is the first time an Israeli court has been asked to rule on a student’s right to coeducation.

Most parents oppose the gender separation, according to a vote held several months ago, Ynet reported. The municipality also objects to gender separation at the school, Haaretz reported.

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