NYC Council Funds Program for Yeshivah School Guards

NEW YORK -

New York City lawmakers on Monday overwhelmingly passed a landmark bill to fund school safety agents to any yeshivah that requests them, a formality after Mayor Bill de Blasio removed his objections in an agreement two weeks ago.

In a compromise with the legislation’s sponsor, Councilman David Greenfield, larger yeshivos may apply for funding based on how many students they have, and if approved can hire agents from a select list of private security agencies.

The bill allocating $19.8 million for the approximately 200,000 private school students in the city was approved by 44 council members; four — Danny Dromm, Rosie Mendez, Corey Johnson and Inez Barron — voted against the measure.

The legislation now awaits de Blasio’s signature.

Under the bill, the city will provide at least one security guard to non-public schools with 300 or more students. Schools with 500 students will be entitled to two agents, with every additional 500 students making them eligible for an additional guard. A school with 2,000 students will be able to hire five guards.

The agents will all be civilians and will be answerable to the yeshivos and available based on their schedule.

Most yeshivah administrators and Orthodox groups praised the bill, though some said they hoped it would be made available to shuls and smaller yeshivos as well.