Parent of yeshiva student: Fifth-grade son barely knows alphabet, doesn’t speak English

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PALM TREE -

A parent of an Orthodox yeshiva student in Orange County is alleging the school isn't teaching basic studies like math and English, even though it's now required by the state.

The Hasidic father asked that his identity be concealed in a News 12 exclusive about the private school system in the ultra-Orthodox community of Palm Tree, formerly known as Kiryas Joel.

The man says his 11-year-old son goes to Yeshiva Sheri Torah on Larkin Drive in Monroe and claims the fifth-grader barely knows the alphabet, doesn't speak English and can only add and subtract single-digit numbers.

New state Education Department guidelines require that private schools provide an education equivalent to a public school and teach subjects like math, science, English and social studies.

The father claims the yeshiva isn't. He says when he asked about it, he was told to stop or else his son will be removed from school.

“No one can talk too much because the office of the yeshiva have the power to do what they want,” he says.

News 12 tried going to the yeshiva, and was sent to the administration building where no one was available to comment either.

Just last month, the community's grand rabbi instructed followers to ignore the new guidelines, threatening to "wage war" against the state.

State officials say local school districts are responsible to enforce the rules. In this case, that would be the Monroe Woodbury School District. The superintendent says promised training and guidance on how to do so has not been given by the state.

Monroe-Woodbury School Superintendent Elsie Rodriguez said in this case, she'd need a formal complaint from the parent in order to investigate.

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