Dozens of elected officials, leaders of New York City religious schools and hundreds of cheering schoolchildren held a rally on the steps of City Hall Wednesday afternoon, highlighting an imbalance in which non-public schools are not automatically provided with school safety officers.
Called for by Councilman David Greenfield, the rally comes as the City Council negotiates the 2016 budget with Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mayor opposes a bill sponsored by 46 out of 51 lawmakers to give safety guards to yeshivos and other private schools. Currently, only public schools are entitled to the patrols.
Along with Public Advocate Letitia James and about a dozen city councilmen, representatives from schools such as Beth Jacob of Boro Park and Barkai Yeshivah, as well as Catholic and Muslim schools, called for passage of the bill, labeled Intro 65. Representatives of Agudath Israel of America, the Orthodox Union, and the UJA-Federation of New York also attended.
The bill, which would be included in the final budget that must pass by a June 30 deadline, guarantees non-public schools an NYPD school safety agent at the school’s request. The bill, which would cost $50 million, would protect the 230,000 children who attend private schools.
“We’re here for a very simple reason: We want to make sure that every single student of New York City that goes to school, whether they go to public school or religious school, is safe,” Greenfield said.