Several Jewish organizations testified at a public hearing Wednesday in favor of a law passed by the City Council to fund school security guards for private schools, including yeshivos.
Representatives of Agudath Israel of America, the Orthodox Union and the UJA Federation told Mayor Bill de Blasio that the law sponsored by Councilman David Greenfield for the first time equates private-school children with their public-school counterparts when it comes to protecting the young.
De Blasio, who said he intends to sign the legislation into law, reiterated at the hearing the points of the bill — that non-public schools with 300 or more students will qualify to hire registered private security firms and apply for reimbursement. The spending cap will be $19.8 million for the first year and it begins in April.
“Additional security guards will, of course, enhance school safety and community safety, and will put more eyes and ears on the ground,” the mayor said, “which will be closely coordinated with the NYPD, and will improve the ability of the NYPD and other public safety agencies to keep New York safe.”
Testifying at the hearing, which took place at City Hall’s Governors Room, were David Tanenbaum of Agudah, Jake Adler of the OU, Sasha Kesler of UJA, Avi Spitzer of the Sephardic Community Federation and Joe Rosenberg of the Catholic Community Relations Council.
Noting that about 20 percent of the city’s children attend private schools — or close to 250,000 students — Rabbi Tanenbaum told the hearing that the city must provide an equivalent level of security for them.
“It is a simple matter of equity,” he said. “All the children in New York City are precious and their safety should be our priority. The police department, the fire department, the hospitals and all the other city agencies that serve and protect the lives of her citizens provide their services equitably, without discrimination.”
Rabbi Tanenbaum told Hamodia that the mayor “appeared to listen attentively to all the speakers.”