Is Your Jewish School Really Safe?

A New Guide, “Keep Your School Safe,” Being Sent to All Jewish Schools in North America, Asks the Questions All Parents Should be Asking Their Children’s Schools

BALTIMORE - An essential new guide, Keep Your School Safe, will be en route next week to all Jewish schools throughout North America. Parents and community members can download it free online.

The guide provides a thorough review, complete with an effective audit which incorporates a self-scoring element, to help administrators carefully evaluate school security.

The easy-to-use audit provides concise recommendations to improve school safety step-by- step, and will help schools recognize the safety and security areas in which they are deficient. Schools will be able to use their current resources along with new innovations to create a strong, manageable security program.

The guide has been recommended by The Secure Community Network, the National Homeland Security Initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations. It has been recommended by the Agudath Israel of America, and the Orthodox Union, as well.

The author, founder of The Chesed Fund and Project Ezra of Greater Baltimore Inc., Frank Storch, is a Security Consultant and Coordinator for CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team in Northern Park Heights, Baltimore. As an expert in the security field for over 35 years, Mr. Storch felt that the Jewish community needed no further wake-up call than the shooting tragedy last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Mr. Storch feels that it is imperative for Jewish schools to review and tighten their security measures for optimal safety.

The goal of terror is to make us feel unsafe, no matter what the situation or circumstance. This especially pertains to our children. Even when we should feel they are perfectly protected and safe from harm, our world has changed to such a degree that it is incumbent upon us to implement greater safety measures in their daily environment.

We enroll our children in Jewish day schools so that we may impart the lessons of Torah and our heritage. Keep Your School Safe underscores how much Judaism values life. In light of recent events, there can no longer be any doubt that all parents must encourage and maximize safety in their children’s schools. Jewish parents, school administrators, and communities must make this a priority.

The Keep Your School Safe guide enables school administrators and school boards to methodically go through each level and issue of security concerning their school. It encourages schools to custom-design their security program to implement salient safety and security measures. It takes them through each component of security, including protection of school grounds, proper safety training for teachers and staff — such as how to properly do lockdown drills — and other emergency preparedness protocol. It is a unique, comprehensive, practical manual that will prove invaluable.

The intent of the guide is also to help schools implement cost-effective security strategies. Some school administrators might not be aware that there are federal grants available to improve their school security. The guide addresses this by providing funding resource suggestions.

The 40-page substantive guide is published in memory of the faculty and students of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as the victims of the Boston Marathon attack. It is sponsored by The Chesed Fund and Project Ezra of Greater Baltimore Inc. A flyer for a proposed organization that communities can model, “CSI, Community Security Initiative,” which helps evaluate Jewish community safety, will also be included.


 

For more information, or for a free electronic version of the guide to print and share, as well as important resources, please visit www.keepyourschoolsafe.com or contact The Chesed Fund, Baltimore, Maryland.