New York Assembly members 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 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 Assembly member Daniel Rosenthal. “I hear daily from individuals, schools, and houses of worship about their security concerns in the wake of these attacks. 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.”
“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. According to Rosenthal, 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.
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.