The days when the only concerns parents had about their children’s schools related to its faculty, parent body and curriculum are over.
These days, equally, if not more, important is the question, “Does my child’s school have appropriate security?”
Unfortunately, the national phenomenon of school shootings and the plague of violent anti-Semitic acts in New York and New Jersey have led to a sea change in the mindset of parents in the frum community. “Just a few months ago, I scoffed at the notion that my daughter would see an armed man in uniform in her school’s lobby every day,” admits Malka, a Lakewood parent. “Today, I look back and think, ‘How could I have been so na’ive?’”
Indeed, across the Lakewood region in particular, scores of Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs have hired or are in the process of hiring security guards. They run the gamut of schools large and small; boys and girls; elementary and high. Schools that previously had part-time guards have upped their hours to full time. Schools are also implementing a variety of other security measures, such as professional assessments, security cameras, locked doors and the like.
“We understand that when a parent enrolls their child in our school, we have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect them, with Hashem’s help,” says Rabbi Mordechai Cohen, Executive Director of Tehilas Chaya Sara, which recently hired a full time armed security guard. “Parents are extremely appreciative that we take security seriously and are ahead of the game in a fast-changing world.”
“It started off as a trickle in the beginning of the school year and is now a wave,” says Moshe Fromowitz, Director of Operations at IronRock Security. “Our team is literally racing around the clock to keep up with demand.”
IronRock Security, founded and managed by former Lakewood Police Chief Robert Lawson, has seen its roster of Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov clients skyrocket in recent weeks. IronRock is the exclusive approved security vendor of the Lakewood Board of Education, so local nonpublic schools can use their government security funds to subsidize IronRock services.
“To paraphrase my life insurance agent, I hope that the money we spend on security is all to waste,” says another Yeshiva Executive Director, who insisted on anonymity. “But we can never be too safe.”