Dutch Minister orders investigation into Amsterdam Cheider

The Minister of Education for the Netherlands, Arie Slob, has ordered an investigation into how the Cheider of Amsterdam handled the 2012 case of sexual abuse by Ephraim Schrijver, a former teacher in the school, who was convicted last week and sentenced to two years imprisonment.

An investigation by the NRC newspaper, which included interviews with former teachers, revealed that the school had acted negligently regarding allegations of abuse from parents and teachers.

In a 2016 article by De Telegraaf parents described being threatened, that they would be ostracized if they reported the abuse. “I was warned that if I filed a report with the police, my child would never marry because he would be considered a pervert. They predicted that I would have a very difficult life, that I would lose customers and friends” (quote translated from Dutch).

The then-Minister of Education pressured the school to file an official police report. It was only after Schrijver had left the country that the school finally filed a report with the police. Parents also filed police reports after the school has done so. Schrijver was extradited back to the Netherlands in 2016.

The Ministry has ordered the investigators to speak with current and former parents and students and not just the school’s board. The school board members who have not resigned include Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs who serves as vice-president; Herman Loonstein, President; Nili Elburg and Danny Elburg.

On March 6, De Telegraaf reported that the official school minutes of the Cheider revealed that Rabbi Jacobs personally made the decision not to bring charges against the teacher, that a preparatory conversation instruction with the parents stated; “One in five reports is false. Discuss this with parents. If police discover this, parents/children will be prosecuted- court- fines.”.

The Minister pointed out that the Cheider is the only known school in the Netherlands in the past two years that did not immediately report suspicions of abuse.

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