Greenfield Bill Providing Security To Non-Public Schoolchildren Gets Signed


If politics is the art of compromise, as some have said, then Midwood/Boro Park City Councilman David G. Greenfield is a master of the trade.

That after Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed into law Greenfield’s legislation protecting the city’s non-public schoolchildren with trained, equipped and well compensated security officers was signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

City Councilman David Greenfield, left, with Mayor Bill de Blasio, seated.
City Councilman David Greenfield, left, with Mayor Bill de Blasio, seated.

Greenfield originally wanted NYPD security assigned to all non-public schools the same as they do at public schools, but opponents of the measure opposed it, arguing that spending the money and utilizing City police it would violate separation of church and state laws.

After years of debate and comprise, Greenfield saw his final measure pass the City Council, 43-4.  Under the new law, Introduction 65-A, which takes effect on April 1, as many as 200,000 children attending hundreds of non-public schools will get protection with city funding from trained security officers.

The city will fund the first year of the new security with $19.8 million.

City Councilman David Greenfield
City Councilman David Greenfield

“All of New York’s children, regardless of where they go to school, deserve to be safe in school,” said Greenfield. “I am extremely grateful to Mayor Bill de Blasio and proud that after five years of hard work that our vision of protecting every child in New York City has become a reality. This law is also a tremendous testament to the leadership of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Public Safety Chair Vanessa Gibson. Finally, I am especially thankful to the Orthodox Union, the UJA-Federation of New York, Agudath Israel of America, the Sephardic Community Federation, the Catholic Community Relations Council, the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn & Queens, the Islamic Schools Association, the Muslim Community Network and SEIU 32 BJ building service workers’ union for their passionate advocacy and tireless support that has led us to this historic day.”

Greenfield also responded to critics of his bill at the bill signing with the following, “Finally, I want to repeat something that the Mayor said an hour ago at the incredible interfaith breakfast I attended – separation of church and state doesn’t mean we treat the church worse. It means that no one gets a preference, but that certainly we treat the church the same – equally. That’s what this bill does. Our city decided years ago that children deserve to be protected before something happens because they are children. All we are doing today is extending that same protection to non-public school children. That’s something we should all be proud of.”

Currently, every City public school receives security provided by NYPD school safety agents regardless of its size, location or the particular threats to campus security. Non-public schools, on the other hand, have until now had no comparable security guarantee – despite the fact that approximately one in five New York City students attend non-public schools and the unique risks that many of those non-public schools face.

In addition to providing peace of mind to parents whose children attend non-public schools, the bill will also create as many as 500 new prevailing wage jobs for security officers who must be licensed and work for a licensed agency.