Report: Security costs surge by 47% in US Jewish schools post-Israel invasion

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In the aftermath of the October 7 terrorist invasion of Israel, Jewish schools in three U.S. states are grappling with a 47% surge in security costs, according to a comprehensive report by the Teach Coalition, a project of the Orthodox Union. The findings shed light on the profound impact of recent geopolitical events on local educational institutions and underscore growing concerns about the escalation of antisemitism.

Security Costs Surge by 47%

The report, which analyzed responses from 75 Jewish schools in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, revealed a substantial increase in security expenses since the attack by the terrorist group Hamas. On average, these schools are expected to spend an additional $100,383 annually on security guards, equipment, and related expenses compared to the period preceding the invasion.

Shift in Budget Allocation

Before October 7, security spending constituted 1.66% of the average Jewish school’s budget. However, in the wake of increased threats and anti-Semitic incidents, this figure has risen to 2.35%. Rabbi Moshe Hauer of the Orthodox Union commented on the report, stating that the findings, while shocking, may even be conservative. He emphasized that the surge in antisemitism has been unexpected, but the subsequent financial strain on the community is not surprising.

Security Guard Expenses Dominate

Breaking down the increased expenses, the report highlights that security guards represent the most significant spending category, accounting for 66% of overall security expenses. The report suggests that if these rising costs are not offset by donations or external grants, the burden will likely be shouldered by the community through higher security or general tuition fees.

“The Jewish community is paying enough for the hatred that is being pointed at them. We should not have to pay an antisemitism tax to boot,” Rabbi Moshe Hauer remarked in response to the report’s findings.

Government Involvement Urged

The Teach Coalition report underscores the pressing need for the federal government to enhance its protection of students in response to the soaring security costs faced by Jewish schools. The report emphasizes that the financial strain on these institutions highlights the importance of increased governmental support to ensure the safety and well-being of students.

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Federal Investigation Amidst Rising Antisemitism

Coinciding with these revelations, the U.S. Department of Education is currently investigating several public school districts for alleged discrimination based on shared ancestry. The investigations aim to determine whether school leaders have adequately addressed antisemitism, Islamophobia, or other forms of ancestry discrimination.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona acknowledged the unprecedented level of antisemitic incidents, stating, “Let me be clear: advocating for the systematic murder of Jews is dangerous and revolting.” However, concerns persist, with parents and advocates nationwide demanding further federal action.

Calls for Federal Action Intensify

Last month, 36 parent groups penned a letter to Secretary Cardona, urging him to address antisemitic “materials and curriculum” that are causing division at the K–12 level. The signatories claimed that such ideologies are becoming embedded in teacher training programs, accusing teachers’ unions of being influenced by a toxic ideology.

“From Ivy League institutions to K–12 classrooms, we have watched in horror as teachers and students have sided with a terrorist organization over innocent victims and children,” the letter reads. The signatories express dissatisfaction with the response of school officials, alleging a failure to act appropriately in the face of rising antisemitism.

Conclusion: A Call for Comprehensive Protection

In conclusion, the Teach Coalition’s report sheds light on the profound impact of geopolitical events on the security landscape of Jewish schools. As security costs surge, the call for comprehensive federal protection intensifies. The findings underscore the need for a concerted effort to address antisemitism and ensure the safety of students, urging government intervention to alleviate the financial burden on these educational institutions.

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