Assembly Advances NJ Bill to Secure Private Schools

TRENTON, N.J -

A bill that would make a large increase in security funding for private schools was approved Thursday by the New Jersey Assembly’s Education Committee by a unanimous vote.

“We are very happy with today’s development,” Rabbi Avi Schnall of Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey division, who delivered testimony at the hearing, told Hamodia. “The bill has now passed its first hurdle on its path to becoming law and this definitely builds momentum.”

In his testimony, Rabbi Schnall quoted that, according to an evaluation carried out by a private security company, the cost of bringing a school of 350 students to an “acceptable” level of security would be $230 per child. This present proposal is asking for the present amount, $25 per child, to be raised to $144.

“Our focus going forward needs to be a grassroots effort encouraging the vast members of the Assembly and Senate to support the bill,” said Rabbi Schnall.

Last year Assemblymen Gary Schear introduced the first legislation to give non-public schools funding for security needs. The figure that the new bill, also introduced by Schear, proposes to bring the funding level to the average amount the state spends on public school students.

“All students deserve to be safe regardless of where they go to school,” said Schaer (D-Passaic). “The frequency of violent attacks in our schools has been a sobering wake-up call.”

The legislation is now cleared to go the full Assembly for debate and a vote.