Rocket falling in Sderot kindergarten (archives)
Photo: Noam Yaakov
Crash site in Sderot high school (archives)
Photo: Amir Cohen
Students fleeing Sderot schools
Number of children attending coming school year in rocket-battered town continues to drop as parents send children to other towns in protest of gov't's failure to fortify schools

Some 700 out of 4,100 Sderot students have decided not to attend school in the town this year in protest of the continued rocket attacks and the government's failure to fortify the schools.


Over the past few months, many parents have been doing everything in their power to transfer their children to other schools, and while some parents filed applications to the municipality, others simply changed their addresses on their IDs in order to have their children placed in other schools.


According to the town's data, only 3,400 students will be attending local schools this year compared to 4,100 in 2006, and only 750 children have been registered for kindergarten compared to 900 last year.


Dozens of families are still awaiting permission from the municipality to enroll their children in other schools outside of the Qassam rockets' range, meaning that the number of children entering Sderot's schools next week could drop even further.


Nonetheless, Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal announced that no more permits would be granted, for fear that this would lead to the complete collapse of the town's educational system. As a result of the current drop in students, the town has already been forced to unite four elementary schools.


"The data are a catastrophe that threatens to dismantle the town," said Sderot Treasurer Shimon Peretz. "The state must support us, since we have no way to stop the drain," he said.


A Sderot municipality source told Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that the parents who did not wait for a permit and changed their addresses were breaking the law. "Not only is this a criminal offence, but citizens who change their address also lose the benefits given to Sderot and Gaza vicinity residents," the sources said.


In a visit to Sderot on Friday, Education Minister Yuli Tamir announced that the school year would open as planned and that bomb shelters would be renovated and fortified transportation would be provided for the children.


The parents committee however demanded that all children be taken out of the town's schools until each and every one was fortified.


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