City to reimburse non-public schools for security guard costs
Private and religious schools will be able to hire security guards and get reimbursed by the city, thanks to a new law Mayor Bill de Blasio signed on Jan. 5.
Under the new law, which goes into effect on April 1, non-public schools that have enrollments of 300 or more students will be allowed to receive reimbursements from the city to cover the costs of hiring and training security guards.
The law also requires the schools to report criminal activity and public safety-related incidents to the NYPD and to work closely with the police department on security measures.
“The spending cap in this bill will be $19.8 million dollars in the first full year of implementation, and we believe this will help both NYPD and other agencies to keep our communities safer,” the mayor said at the signing ceremony Tuesday.
The bill won overwhelming approval of the City Council, which passed it by a vote of 43-4.
Advocates for the legislation said the new law will increase student safety by putting yeshivas, Catholic schools and other non-public schools on the same footing as their public school counterparts. All public schools in New York City have security guards.
Councilmember David Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst), the bill’s sponsor, said the new law will protect as many as 200,000 children attending hundreds of non-public schools.
“All of New York’s children, regardless of where they go to school, deserve to be safe in school,” Greenfield said. “Our city decided years ago that children deserve to be protected before something happens, because they are children. All we are doing today is extending that same protection to non-public school children. That’s something we should all be proud of.”
Approximately one in five New York City children attends a non-public school, according to Greenfield.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called the new law a “landmark public safety measure” and said it’s important because it “is going to help keep more of our children safe, regardless of what type of school they attend.”
Councilmember Vanessa L. Gibson (D-Bronx), chair of the Public Safety Committee, said the new law is needed, particularly given the current climate of gun violence in the country. “As biased and non-biased related violence rises on campuses and in classrooms around the country, it is essential we find creative solutions to maintain security in all our schools,” she said.
Greenfield said that in addition to providing peace of mind to parents, the new law will also create as many as 500 prevailing wage jobs for security officers.
The security guards will be required to be licensed and work for a licensed agency.
The law also provides funding for training for security guards to provide them with the expertise needed to work in the city’s diverse non-public schools, Greenfield said.
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