“There is no greater responsibility for us than to ensure that our 1.4 million students are in safe learning environments,” said State Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet in his most recent communication to New Jersey School Superintendents. Acknowledging November is Child Safety and Protection Month, Repollet also said school safety is of paramount importance to Governor Murphy and school leaders.
A bill introduced in the New Jersey State Senate and State Assembly would double per-pupil funding for security for non-public school students. The current allotment of $75 is less than one-half the amount allocated for students in New Jersey public schools. If passed, funding increases would be available in the current school year. This funding is critical, particularly in light of increasing violence against faith-based institutions.
All schools have reviewed safety and security protocols with law enforcement and emergency responders to ensure compliance. Varied upgrades for safety and security have occurred, which include: new doors and gates, locking systems, card readers, lighting upgrades, alarm systems, security window covers, bulletproof windows and walls, security cameras and video recorders, door buzzers, upgraded PA systems, and restrictive access to parking lots. One school has constructed a “safe room.”
With safety a top priority in South Jersey Catholic Schools, administrators are grateful for the funds available for safety and security. Every school has a list of current and future plans for upgrades, and an increase in the per-pupil allotment will help ensure those plans can become a reality.
The safety and security of a school affects the well-being of an entire community. There is no better time than Child Safety and Protection Month to ask legislators for support. Contact information for NJ Senate and Assembly representatives is located at https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp.
Additional information can be found on the Catholic Star Herald website at https://catholicstarherald.org, under “Catholic Schools.”