MAILBAG: We Need an Immediate Change of Mindset

The recent news that the Lakewood girls high school application and acceptance process has fallen apart this year has thrown thousands of girls for a loop. Their parents are worried, schools are scrambling, and a lot of people are angry.

I do believe that the framework which had been in place for almost twenty years was a good thing. It ensured that all girls got accepted into a high school. That process not being around anymore creates a massive crisis.

But can we take a step back for a second and think about how we got here in the first place? The whole reason we needed such a process is because of the insanity that had become the high school acceptance process.

Think about it: is there any other community, not just in the U.S. but in the world, that needs such a process? The answer is no. Why would that be? I’ll tell you.

Unfortunately, Lakewood has become a community in which very narrow parameters define you, your family as a whole, and your children individually. And that’s a really big problem.

13- and 14-year-old girls can’t be held accountable for who they are, nor can they or their parents be expected to know who they’re going to be. But that’s exactly what we expect of them.

Before they even matured into an adult schools make decisions about what type of girl each girl will be and then decide whether to accept them based on that preconceived, and often misinformed, notion.

And what happens because of this is that many girls are left without schools and askanim are needed to push schools into accepting them.

How shameful. Instead of judging girls on their merits and seeing their potential, we want them to be finished products before they even reach high school! Insanity!

We’ve got to stop this already. It doesn’t just go for girls entering high school; its relevant in all aspects of life here in Lakewood. Stop judging people by their covers, see their potential, see their positive aspects. And maybe someday we can have a girls high school application and acceptance process that is fair and equitable to everyone.

Name Withheld

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  1. Do you practice this laudatory attitude when it comes to your children’s shidduchim or do you look for a certain type of person?
    Why would you think that a young teenager is a finished product? Why judge a girl based on her behavior at 18?
    Do you send your child to any school that will have them? Of course not? Why not?
    You see, everyone judges – you included. It’s not judging that you’re against – it’s when others judge you in inconvenient ways.
    Open your own school, take anyone you want, and then you can talk.
    Of course, the most you’ll ever do is anonymously write a letter to the LA.
    That’s not bravery, that’s cowardice.

  2. Rachel our matriarch and Leah also (may their memories be blessed forever), they would have a hard time to get accepted into a school with such parents.
    If a school is saying NO to a certain child, it must be done in a super professional way so the student does not get offended.
    The school needs to think of tricks how to do it without hurting their feelings.
    Let us not forget the Peninah & Channah story.


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