City Council set to approve security guards for some NYC private schools

From the Daily News

The City Council is set to vote to give city-funded security to some private schools, after striking a deal with Mayor de Blasio on the controversial legislation.

The bill will provide at least one security guard, at city expense, to religious and private schools with 300 or more students if the school opts in.

Councilman David Greenfield had introduced legislation to require NYPD school-safety agents for private schools, but the mayor’s office balked at the high price tag — $51 million — and the fact that it could strain the police department.

Under the compromise, the city will spend a maximum of $19.8 million in the first year of the program, which will be limited to larger schools. The city will provide unarmed private guards, instead of sending in the NYPD, but the guards will have to be paid a union-level prevailing wage.

“This first-of-its-kind program in New York City is going to help keep more of our children safe, regardless of what type of school they attend,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Supported by yeshivas and leaders at other religious schools, Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) had argued the schools need increased security because they could be faced with terrorism or anti-Semitic violence.

“Nothing is more important than our children’s safety,” Greenfield said. “This legislation recognizes that all children, regardless of where they go to school, deserve to learn in a safe environment.”

About 250,000 kids attend more than 800 nonpublic schools across the city, including more than 110,000 kids who attend Jewish yeshivas.

The Council plans to vote on the bill early next month.

“We’re pleased we could work productively with Speaker Mark-Viverito, Councilman Greenfield and their colleagues on an initiative that gives the administration the flexibility to develop a program that recognizes community needs, while addressing administration concerns about diverting critical police resources,” de Blasio said.

“This will be a targeted and fiscally responsible effort that will bolster security where it’s most appropriate. Additional security guards, who will work closely with the NYPD, will put more eyes and ears on the ground and will improve our ability to keep all New Yorkers safe.”