New York City Councilman David Greenfield is celebrating the one year anniversary of the passage of his school security law, which pays for security guards at yeshivas.
In the law’s first year, 64 yeshivas and Jewish day schools have taken part in the program that provides free security guards for schools with over 300 students. Collectively these schools have 50,000 yeshiva students in them.
“We came together last year to agree that every child needs to be safe regardless of where they go to school,” Greenfield said. “This is one of our values as New Yorkers—we protect all of our children.”
In order to apply for security guards through the law, a non-public school needs to have at least 300 students. Schools with at least 500 students can get two guards, and an additional guard is added for every 500 students after that.
Applications for the 2017-2018 school year are being accepted not until May 1st, and Greenfield urges every school to apply, even those that didn’t last year.
“It’s important to me that as many schools as possible take advantage of this program.” Greenfield said. “We literally put $20 million in the budget for this program. While most yeshivas have applied, we estimate that 40% of eligible yeshivas have not yet. Remember, there is no cost for the school, and the yeshiva even gets to pick the licensed security guard company that they prefer.”
When Mayor Bill de Blasio first signed Greenfield’s school security law in January of 2016, few predicted the violent upswing of anti-Semitism in New York City since. According to the NYPD, the first three months of 2017 saw a 150% increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes.
“Security is about preventing unforeseen threats,” Greenfield said. “We’re not fortune tellers. But we invest in security because of what we don’t know. And I know that parents of children in these schools have a sense of relief knowing that their children are now protected. That’s why I’m encouraging every eligible yeshiva to apply before the upcoming deadline.”
The application period’s May 1st deadline falls just days after the end of Pesach. Greenfield encourages all yeshivas who want help applying to call his office at (718) 853 2704. Greenfield’s office will be staffed on Chal Hamoed to deal with these issues.