Chassidic Jew takes on tough kids

May 6, 2010 by Amber Daines
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Shimon Waronker is living proof the battle to end violence in our schools can be won. The New York-based Chassidic Jew has received much praise in America for his achievement in turning one of the toughest schools in South Bronx into an educational inspiration.

Shimon Waronker

Australian schools in recent years have also reported an alarming rise in bullying, knife attacks and other violent incidences, with many parents stating their children are scared to go to school. According to Waronker, his experience at Jordan L. Mott, Junior High School 22 could be helpful to our educators here.

Arriving in Sydney late May for a few days, Waronker is here to as a guest speaker at the Chabad of the North Shore annual gala dinner on Thursday 27 May – one of the organisation’s mandates is committed to tackling youth issues through education.

“A successful school is about building good relationships, empowerment and transparency,” says Waronker. Whether it is an ocean that divides the US from Australia, or the divide between Gentile and Jew, the fact is that we are all brothers and sisters and we must help one another.  There is nothing that unites us all more than ensuring that our children have an opportunity in life,” says Waronker.

His feat at Jordan L. Mott, Junior High School 22 is nothing less than extraordinary, given that most of the school population were from black American and Hispanic backgrounds and many had never even met an Orthodox Jewish person before Waronker started his posting as the school’s Principal in 2004. The school had already gone through six principals in just two years and was riddled with drugs and violence such as bullying.

Today, Shimon Waronker continues to drive reform of the American school system  and is currently employed by the New York City Department of Education as the Chancellor’s Intern and will start an innovative school design that he and a team of fellow doctoral students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education called ‘The New American Academy’.

Close to 20 per cent of Australia’s early high school population reported being bullied in the preceding six to 12 months, wrote Professor Dominic Fitzgerald, a paediatrician at Sydney’s Westmead Children’s Hospital in an article for Medical Observer magazine (February 2010). A similar percentage will acknowledge bullying behaviours by themselves and, interestingly, about five per cent will report both bullying and being victims.


One Response to “Chassidic Jew takes on tough kids”
  1. Shirley says:

    Amazing post, honest!

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