What lesson can we learn from Québec’s mistake? The answer in Mr. Mario Dumont’s article: “Victims of unreasonable accommodation” [Victimes d’accommodements déraisonnables]

Taken from the Journal de Montréal (Saturday, February 22nd, 2020)
“Two ex-Hasidic Jews accuse the government of having abandoned them by leaving them in a religious school, which neglected basic subjects.”

This story is about two victims who happened to be former students of an ultra-orthodox Jewish school (illegal yet tolerated for years, in the name of reasonable accommodation).

According to Bambi, the victims could have been from any other religion. Who knows? Maybe also from secular yet cultic-like movements, even when they can radicalize minds in apparently different (perhaps more socially acceptable?) ways.

Anyhow, Bambi will stop here. Here is a translation of Mr. Dumont’s article:


“It’s a trial that has been going on for two weeks. Yochonon Lowen and Clara Wasserstein attack the Québec government for failing to protect them by providing them with adequate education.

Providing a good quality education to all children, at least up to age sixteen, is indeed a legal obligation in Québec.

This man and woman, who fled the ultra-Orthodox Chassidic community of Boisbriand, consider that the government has failed in its responsibility with regard to a fundamental right of children: the right to education.

You understand that they went to school… but in a religious school, where education was given in Yiddish, skipping a lot of the basics. French and English? Not necessary. Sciences? Dangerous. Geography and history? Only notions related to the religious history of the Jewish people. This is what their lawyer argued in court.


The couple in their forties say they are having considerable trouble integrating into Québec society, and especially into the job market. They ended up on social assistance. One can easily imagine how their lack of education deprives them of the basic tools to hope to position themselves on the job market.

Live isolated, live in poverty. The questions asked by these two people are very important, and unfortunately remain very current issues. Are the Québec government, the Ministry of Education and the DPJ [Youth Services] really jointly responsible for looking after the well-being of the children of Québec?

Compulsory school attendance is enshrined in law. It is not just a wish. School attendance also implies that the school offers a true, complete education, which prepares for life and allows access to higher education.

The option of educating your children at home must be framed and marked to ensure a follow-up of the program. This option should not be used to justify the absence of the child from a regular school in order to better wedge him/her in an illegal religious school camouflaged in a basement.

More news

The government defends itself by citing progress made under recent laws. There is truth. But examples of illegal schools are still in the news today. If you’ve seen the reports of the J.E. TV show on the Mission of the Holy Spirit, you understand that there is still work to be done.

Orthodox religious groups seek to fall through the cracks to keep their children locked in a strictly religious lap and to deprive them of the broader knowledge that school has to offer. These children did not choose to give up education.

Religious schools were tolerated — as a reasonable accommodation. As long as normal school subjects are covered, they can be qualified as well. But when they deprive children of basic education, when they ruin the future possibilities of young citizens, they become the most unreasonable accommodation. A shame not to be tolerated.”

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