07 Sep First Victorian school to have armed guards on campus
Mount Scopus Memorial College has become the first school in Victoria to have armed guards on-site, in what has been called a significant boost to its security. Victoria’s largest Jewish school, Mount Scopus will have the armed guards stations at all three of its Melbourne campuses. The co-ed school, which runs from kindergarten to Year 12, accommodates 1,530 students.
According to a report in Melbourne’s The Age, Rabbi James Kennard, principal of Mount Scopus, said, “This enhancement of the guards’ equipment reflects the heightened security levels now in place across Australia and worldwide, and is not in response to any particular threat to the College… Security at Mount Scopus Memorial College is under constant review, and we aim to follow best practice at all times.””
Armed guards have been present at many Jewish schools and institutions in Sydney for more than 20 years but absent from Jewish schools in Victoria until now. The Age reported that other Jewish schools in Melbourne will seriously consider employing armed guards following the ground-breaking move by Mount Scopus.
Jewish schools have been been increasing their security in general for some time in response to concerns about some resurgence of anti-Semitism around the world. In recent years there have been attacks on a Jewish school in France, where four people were killed, and outside of the school system there was the shooting of four hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris, and the shooting of a Jewish man outside a synagogue in Copenhagen. Last August, concerns were raised closer to home when young Jewish students were racially taunted and physically threatened by five teenagers, according to The Age.
“Back in March, the federal government announced that some fifty-four Australian schools deemed to be at risk of attack or violence arising from racial or religious intolerance would have access to $18 million in funding to improve their security,” said Michael Hart, general manager of ILA Security Services. “It seems that seventeen Jewish schools and fifteen Islamic schools were able to access this funding for hiring security guards and installing CCTV cameras, but Mount Scopus was not among the recipients of this funding.”
“Schools are not allowed to employ their own armed security guards. To be able to take advantage of having armed guards for schools, the school would need to engage the services of a properly-licensed security firm,” Michael said.
Read the full article here: The Age http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/jewish-school-to-be-first-in-state-with-armed-guards-20150906-gjgb3p.html#ixzz3l1TEHl8c