School leaders claim fire inspections fueled by religious bias

Dozens of Orthodox and Hasidic school leaders are claiming that new fire inspections in schools are the product of religious bias.

Rabbi Moishe Schwab from Yeshiva Degel Hatorah claims inflammatory remarks from prominent politicians like Rockland County Executive Ed Day have cast a dark shadow on their tight-knit community.

Schwab claims the remarks led to state-ordered fire safety re-inspections this month of nearly 50 private schools, most of them yeshivas.

He says his school and dozens of other Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish school leaders have created the School Religious Freedom Coalition and filed a complaint with the state Board of Education. They are accusing Day of "proverbial political kidnapping of the school safety issue."

The complaint questions Day's objectivity and also asks if another entity, besides the county, should be conducting the inspections. Day says religion has nothing to do with it.

"We are probing schools that didn't file their safety reports. It doesn't matter their background," he said.

Schwab did admit that there are a few schools that embarrass the community and should be shut down. However he said the vast majority of schools are in compliance.

County officials say multiple re-inspections at local private schools will occur on Wednesday.

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