After the brutal murders in a kosher grocery store in Jersey City, the horrific Chanukah attacks in a rabbi’s home in Monsey, several mass shootings in the nation’s schools, and on the heels of mass shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway synagogues, Assemblymembers Daniel Rosenthal (D-Kew Gardens Hills) and Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Far Rockaway) have called upon the New York State Legislature to substantially increase security funding for nonpublic schools in the New York State budget.

Historically, the New York State Legislature allocated $15 million annually for the Nonpublic School Safety Equipment (NPSE) Grant.  This translates into approximately $37 per child.  In response to recent events, New Jersey increased its allocation to $150 per child for security, doubling its previous rate.  Rosenthal and Pheffer Amato propose that New York double its allocation to $30 million, to protect children against the dangers caused by rising anti-Semitism and increasing school shooting incidents.

“All children – public school and nonpublic school alike – need to feel and be safe,” said Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal.  “I hear daily from individuals, schools, and houses of worship about their security concerns in the wake of these attacks.  No parents should have to worry about their children being the target of hate-fueled violence.  Anti-Semitism has no place in New York; this funding affirms our commitment to protecting our children.”

“Currently, a sense of urgency is felt to safeguard Jewish communities, especially our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.  Therefore, 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,” Assemblywoman Stacey 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.”

Aside from recent high-profile attacks, there have been almost daily incidents of knockdowns, rock throwing, cursing, spitting, and other forms of abuse aimed at visibly Jewish individuals.  In the past year, New York City has seen a 20% increase in hate crimes and a 26% increase in anti-Semitic attacks, which comprise 55% of all hate crimes.

“With the dramatic spike in anti-Semitic incidents, security is foremost on our minds these days, said Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Director of New York Government Relations for Agudath Israel of America.  “We thank Assemblymembers Rosenthal and Pheffer Amato for standing up and working with us, and taking the lead on this critical issue.”

“The Catholic school community is very grateful to Assemblymembers Stacey Pheffer Amato and Daniel Rosenthal for their efforts to increase funding to meet the health, safety, and security needs of school children, regardless of where they go to schools,” said James Cultrara, Executive Secretary, NYS Council of Catholic School Superintendents.

“Now more than ever, with families increasingly concerned about security, all kids deserve a safe learning environment, and this bill helps provide that.  Thank you to Assemblymembers Rosenthal and Pfeffer Amatto for their leadership,” said Maury Litwack, Executive Director of Teach NYS, a project of the Orthodox Union.

The NPSE Grant is a streamlined, noncompetitive grant available to nearly all nonpublic K-12 schools, regardless of size.  The reimbursement form is two pages long – its goal is to protect kids, not add paperwork or complexity.  At the request of Agudath Israel and others, the NPSE Grant has been expanded to reimburse a wide array of security upgrades, as well as safety and health items.