For Immediate Release
Contact: Josh Caplan Teach NJS (917) 848-6326
June 7, 2018
Elected Officials and Nonpublic School Coalition call for Security Parity for Nonpublic Schools
Monmouth Junction, NJ – This morning, elected officials, educators, students and advocates representing the Jewish, Islamic and Catholic nonpublic school communities across New Jersey gathered at the Noor-Ul-Iman School to call on the Governor and Legislative Leaders to increase security funding for nonpublic schools to the same levels as public school security.
The Governor’s proposed budget funds nonpublic school security at $75 per pupil. Public School funding per pupil for security is nearly $190 per student.
“We are here with one voice, and with a simple belief: All students, regardless of where they attend classes, should be safe at school” said Nathan Lindenbaum, a founding member of Teach NJS. “We implore Trenton to invest equally in security for all students.”
“When I hear about threats to Islamic schools and mosques, it bothers me and it makes me, and my parents, very worried.” said Arafat Ayub, a student at the Noor-Ul-Iman School. “The State of New Jersey should increase its support of security at non-public schools, so our schools can keep us safe in the best ways.”
The coalition was joined by leaders of the New Jersey State Assembly in demanding equality in security funding regardless of where they attend school.
Deputy Assembly Speaker Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) said, “We ask for no more for parochial school children than any other children. We only ask that the state recognize that wherever children go to school in New Jersey, they are indeed New Jersey’s children.”
Deputy Assembly Whip Robert Karabinchak (D-Edison) explained, “The most important issue is our children. It doesn’t get more important than that; all of our lives revolve around our children and there is no amount of money, in my position or my mind, that should be limited to protect them.”
New Jersey’s students are similarly concerned and asking their elected officials to do the right thing.
“One of the most important areas that the government helps us with is in keeping us safe, in watching over and providing funds for police, fire, and emergency services, and also in supporting security in all our schools. When I hear about threats to school kids, I can get really worried.” said Joey Ostroff, a student at Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva in Edison “I look to my state government to help protect us. I think this should be first in their priorities.”
“It concerns me to hear that our State is giving less money to non-public schools, like mine, for safety than it is giving to public schools.” said Ryan Granito, a rising senior at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen. “All kids are counting on their schools and the government to keep them safe and free from danger. It should not matter what type of school you attend, to be safe.”
For FY 2019, Teach NJS is seeking $28.5 million in funding for security needs of nonpublic schools to be included in the New Jersey State budget.
“I believe our state government can and should do better. I believe it is in our state government’s best interests to make sure ALL our schools have equity in the resources they need to protect students,” said Eman Arafa, Head of School of Noor-Ul-Iman. “I respectfully implore our elected officials to close that gap in security funding.”
“We respectfully say to our elected officials that we need you to stand up on this issue, to increase funding on this essential line item,” said Kim Chorba, Director of the New Jersey Network of Catholic School Families. “Only with Trenton’s help can we effectively manage our legitimate security concerns.”
Today’s event represented a coalition of nonpublic school groups across New Jersey. Representatives at the press conference included students, teachers and administrators from the Noor-Ul-Iman School, the Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva, St. Joseph High School and Bishop George Ahr High School. This coalition has come together to advocate on behalf of nonpublic schools to the State Legislature and the Governor.
About Teach NJS: Teach NJS works with a coalition of New Jersey schools, houses of worship, and community members dedicated to securing New Jersey state government support, to ensure that nonpublic schools are safe and sustainable. Teach NJS is part of the national Teach Advocacy Network.