Playing with Fire: The fight over new inspections

Rockland Executive Ed Day says the inspections are about children's safety.

Rockland Executive Ed Day says the inspections are about children's safety. (6/3/16)

RAMAPO - Orthodox Jewish leaders and Rockland County officials are at odds over the county's move to re-inspect dozens of schools for fire safety violations after a Ramapo town fire inspector was accused of missing hazardous conditions.

Many, but not all, of the schools believed to have wrongfully passed inspections are private yeshiva schools. 

The Orthodox leaders say their community is being targeted by the county.

Rockland Executive Ed Day says the inspections are about children's safety. 

The state Department of Education stepped in earlier this year after a News 12 report uncovered that a Ramapo Town inspector, Adam Peltz, either missed or ignored safety problems at multiple schools. The state asked Rockland County to conduct new inspections in those schools, and Peltz has since been suspended and demoted.

But yeshiva administrators have begun blocking county inspectors from accessing their schools.

Members of the Orthodox Jewish community claim Day is unfairly targeting their yeshivas for political gain and playing on anti-Semitic sentiments.

Day describes those accusations as "ridiculous" and says the inspections will go on as scheduled Monday.

"The fact of the matter is, we have been inspecting all schools," Day says. "The first four schools we inspected included two Catholic and two Jewish schools."

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