May 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Teach Coalition Heads Cross-Country To Thank School Security Guards

Teach Coalition’s end-of-the-year #Gratitude4Guards campaign
rallies children, parents and school officials to show their thanks.

(Courtesy of Teach NJ) From New York and New Jersey to Pennsylvania, Florida and beyond, more than 500 Jewish day school children, parents and school staff are ending the school year by offering unique shows of gratitude for their schools’ security guards by bringing them hand-made cards, doughnuts, coffee and an abundance of “high-fives” as part of Teach Coalition’s first-ever #Gratitude4Guards campaign. [List of participating schools below.]

“Regardless of the weather, security threat or any other circumstance, security guards keep our children safe and secure,” said Dan Mitzner, chief operating officer and director of government affairs for Teach Coalition, a national education advocacy group and project of the Orthodox Union. “They make it possible for students, teachers and all school staff to function, knowing they are safe from violence and threats.”

During the two-week campaign that began June 6, students, parents and school officials thanked their schools’ guards and broadcast their appreciation by posting messages and pictures of their efforts with the hashtag #Gratitude4Guards on schools’, families’ and Teach Coalition’s social media channels.

At The Frisch School in Paramus, a group of seniors, accompanied by the Esses family, who help lead Teach NJ, Teach Coalition’s New Jersey division, provided doughnuts and coffee to the school’s two security guards. The guards, in turn, thanked the students profusely and noted that, year-round, the students go out of their way to thank them and show their respect.

At Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam in Far Rockaway, New York, a fourth-grade class gave guards handwritten cards and signs. A message from a second-grade teacher stated: “When I told my students we’d be writing thank-you cards to our security team, they immediately began sharing all the ways you help, from taking us on field trips, greeting us outside each morning no matter what the weather, monitoring who enters our building, working long days and more. Know that we see you and appreciate what you do.”

Zalman Myer-Smith, director of the Jewish Community Security Organization and statewide security director for Chabad in Florida noted that fostering strong relationships among the guards, students, staff and parents is an important part of a successful security program.

“When school stakeholders invest in the guards and the guards feel appreciated, their commitment is stronger,” Myer-Smith said. “Being respected and part of something bigger than their department makes the difference.”

Teach Coalition has long fought to improve school security nationwide, including successfully championing state-level security funding programs. Since 2013, Teach Coalitions divisions nationwide—such as Teach NYS, Teach NJ, Teach PA and Teach Florida—have fought for the successful creation of school security programs for their states.

On a federal level, the Orthodox Union’s Advocacy Center has successfully worked with the U.S. Congress to create the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and press annually to increase its funding. Through the program, the Department of Homeland Security has allocated a total of $849 million in security grants to synagogues, day schools, other houses of worship and other nonprofits at risk of terror attacks since 2005.

The following schools participated in the #Gratitude4Guards campaign:

In New Jersey, Ben Porat Yosef, Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School, Rabbi Pesach Raymond Yeshiva, Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, Tenafly Chabad Academy, The Hebrew Academy, The Idea School, The Moriah School, Torah Academy of Bergen County, Yavneh Academy, Yeshivat Frisch, Yeshivat He’Atid and Yeshivat Noam.

In New York, Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam, Darchei Torah, HAFTR Lower School, Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway Lower School, Manhattan Day School, SAR Academy, Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy, Shulamith School for Girls, Torah Academy for Girls in Far Rockaway, Westchester Day School, Yeshiva Central Queens and Yeshiva of South Shore.

In Florida, Brauser Maimonides Academy, Hebrew Academy Miami, Katz Hillel Day School, Ohr HaTorah Yeshiva High School, Shaarei Bina Torah Academy for Girls, Torah Academy of Boca Raton and Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes.

In Pennsylvania, Abrams Hebrew Academy, Morris and Rose Caskey Torah Academy Cheder Chabad, Kohelet, Kohelet Yeshiva Lab and Middle School, Kohelet Yeshiva High School, The Mesivta High School of Greater Philadelphia, Politz Hebrew Academy, Scranton Hebrew Day School and The Silver Academy.

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