HUNDREDS OF DAY SCHOOL STUDENTS, PARENTS & ADMINISTRATORS RALLY STATE LEADERS FOR INCREASED SECURITY FUNDING FOR NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Hundreds of students from Jewish day schools and yeshivas came to the State Capitol recently as part of the Orthodox Union’s Teach PA delegation to advocate for increased security funding for nonpublic schools and community institutions. The students hailed from 11 schools throughout the state including Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Lower Merion, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton and Yardley.
Less than a year after the massacre which took place at the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA, more than 300 students, parents and administrators came to Harrisburg to advocate for additional security funding for the state’s Jewish day schools and yeshivas. The group thanked legislators for their support in referring bill SB 521 (sponsored by Senator David Argall) to the education committee. The bill would provide nonpublic schools with access to the recently created School Safety and Security Grant Program within Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency which awards grants to schools and school districts. The funding can be used for hiring and training security personnel and mental health professionals, installing protected doors, windows, alarm systems and other measures to secure school buildings.
Legislators in attendance included: Senator Dave Argall, Senator Jay Costa, Senator Andy Dinniman and Representative Dan Frankel.
“For the Pennsylvania Jewish community, the massacre which took place at the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh was a turning point. It was when we realized that our community was a target and therefore, we need to increase security at both our houses of worship and our day schools and yeshivas,” said Teach PA Executive Director Arielle Frankston-Morris. “Since then, we’ve been working with state legislators to provide the necessary funding for our schools so that our children can go to school feeling safe.”
“Missions like this, where parents, children and school administrators come from all over the state to the capital, remind our state legislators what our community’s key priorities are,” added Frankston-Morris.
Teach PA, a division of Teach Coalition, was founded in 2013 to advocate for equitable government funding for Pennsylvania nonpublic schools. It has helped secure over $70 million in scholarships for Jewish day school students and spearheaded the creation and maintenance of a school safety program that has delivered $700,000 to nine nonpublic schools. Currently, 20 day-schools and yeshivas receive support through Teach PA’s efforts. For more information, visit https://teachcoalition.org/pa/.