Police Concerned Over Lack of School Security

YERUSHALAYIM -
Children from a school in northern Jerusalem make their way to the Western Wall for a Siddur party in the Old City of Jerusalem, June 21, 2016. Photo by Zack Wajsgras/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** עיר עתיקה ירושלים ה כותל המערבי יהודים מתפליים חרדים ילדים
Students outside an Old City school. (Zack Wajsgras/Flash90)

Once again, schools in Yerushalayim reported that this year they are short on security guards. Among the schools where no guards are on duty include schools in the “seam zone,” near Arab neighborhoods where terror attacks are common.

A report on Army Radio quoted the head of emergency personnel and security in the Yerushalayim police force, Uzi Chen, as saying that there were some 90 security positions in city schools that have yet to be filled. That figure constitutes about 20 percent of all the positions in the city’s schools. As to why the school year began without those jobs being filled, Chen said that there is a great deal of competition in the city for security guards.

Chen said that if those positions weren’t filled, he would recommend removing the responsibility for hiring guards from the schools to police. “We cannot allow a long-term situation where the schools are unprotected,” he said. “If things do not change we will have to engineer a change in who is responsible for hiring guards.”

Last year, as violence in the city grew with near-daily stabbings, thousands of parents kept their children home because of the lack of security guards. Parents expressed fear that a terrorist could simply walk into a school unimpeded and begin attacking students, and it took a great deal of effort by the city to recruit new personnel to fill those posts.

In response, the Yerushalayim municipality said that it was “working to reduce the gap between the number of workers and the open positions, and we plan to give priority to schools in the seam zone. We have consulted with the police and drawn up a plan to secure the schools, but for some reason the police have not yet responded.”