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New York Lawmakers Call For Increased Security Funding For Non-Public Schools

The budget request hopes to make Jewish educational institutions safer in the wake of an increase in anti-Semitic attacks.

In response to an increase in anti-Semitic attacks targeting Jewish businesses and religious centers, two New York Assembly members are calling upon the legislature to increase the amount spent on security funding for nonpublic schools across the state.

Typically, New York’s budget allocates $15 million for the Nonpublic School Safety Equipment Grant, which amounts to about $37 per child, according to QNS, a news outlet based out of Queens.

Now, Assembly members Daniel Rosenthal and Stacey Pheffer Amato want the New York legislature to double the allocation to $30 million in a move to protect Jewish schools from a rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes.

“All children — public school and nonpublic school alike — need to feel and be safe,” Rosenthal said in a statement, referencing conversations he has had with constituents about their security concerns. “No parent should have to worry about their child being the target of hate-fueled violence. Anti-Semitism has no place in New York; this funding affirms our commitment to protecting our children.”

The effort appears to be following a precedent set by New Jersey in late 2018, when the legislature passed a bill to give an additional $11.3 million in security funding to private and religious schools. In 2019, the amount spent on student security at New Jersey’s nonpublic schools doubled from $75 to $150.

The New York grant program is currently available to nearly all nonpublic K-12 schools, including religious educational institutions, to receive funding for a wide variety of security upgrades and safety items. As New York City saw a 26 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks -- 55 percent of all hate crimes in the city -- lawmakers say that it is imperative to address how schools can protect targeted communities.

“I feel strongly that this funding is critical to take a stand against the recent spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes which, unfortunately, show no sign of decelerating,” Pheffer Amato said. “I am hopeful that this funding will be granted so that a measure of peace can be felt by those who may be targeted, and so that we join together to demonstrate our stand against hate.”

Other New York religious leaders, including Catholic school leaders, have supported the move, according to QNS.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.