Preschool security boost

MORE than $4 million in security upgrades to Jewish preschools across Australia was announced by the government this week.

Speaking at Mount Scopus Memorial College’s East St Kilda campus, Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Jason Clare announced that 20 Jewish preschools would receive funding under the third round of the Secure Schools Program.

“The funding will make preschools safer, providing peace of mind to teachers and parents,” said Clare.

The preschool funding follows a $19.8 million commitment to security upgrades at 54 Australian schools. Initiated in 2007, the Secure Schools Program is aimed at helping schools at risk of racial, religious or ethnically motivated violence.

“This program really does what it’s supposed to do.

“That is to keep young people safe so that the work they do in the classroom can reap the rewards that are going to make Australia an even better place to live,” said Clare.

Federal MP Michael Danby said terrorist attacks like the one on a Jewish school in Toulouse earlier this year highlighted the need for tight security.

“Earlier his year we saw the tragedy in France where four people died at a Jewish preschool. I am pleased to see this funding being provided to help keep our preschools safe,” he said.

“All Australians are in the future of this country together, and that’s why the government is acting to ensure that these kinds of schools can go about their education without being targeted.

“People targeting our schools do not differentiate between preschools, primary schools or high schools,” Danby said.

The Australian Council of Jewish Schools expressed its enormous gratitude to the federal Labor government for its continued support and recognition of the needs of Jewish schools.

Nine Jewish preschools in Victoria, nine in New South Wales and two in Queensland received funding.