Updated safety measures

Lilli Libowitz, Assistant Opinion Editor

Additional security measures were put in place at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year by the new Security and Transportation Manager Shay Halevi. Added security regulations include mandatory student ID badges, more police on campus and ensuring lockers are closed when not in use.

Before coming to CESJDS, Halevi was a lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and served in the Israeli Special Police Force.  

These new measures are partially due to the rising antisemitism across the nation. Halevi explained that JDS has an open channel of communication with different local Jewish campuses and organizations to keep each other on their radar and inform one another of any threats to security. 

Meredith Weisel, Senior Associate Regional Director at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), believes that it is important that Jewish institutions have the utmost security due to the rise in antisemitism.  

“The incidents of antisemitism and other hate and bias have increased in the past few years,” Weisel said. “We also know the ADL does what’s called an audit of antisemitic incidents and the data over the past five years, the level of antisemitic acts across the United States has risen dramatically. Maryland in particular has also increased over the past five years.” 

Weisel stresses the importance of making every effort to stay secure and acknowledges that other faith based organizations and schools have been targeted as well.

“We have seen more antisemitic acts, not only towards individuals, but Jewish institutions like schools as well,” Weisel said. “It’s not just the Jewish community, other faith based institutions have been targeted as well… It’s one of the things that’s extremely important to make sure we are being secure at our buildings and making sure we [are] checking people who are coming into the buildings, and working with law enforcement and intelligence.” 

Students are required to wear their badges at all times. However, since many students do not have their IDs yet, this has not fully gone into effect. Many students are also choosing not to follow this security measure and there is some controversy about the mandate. Sophomore Noah Sher does not think that wearing ID badges will be useful as they are “relatively small” and can be “easily missed” by security guards.

“I am not a huge fan of the student ID badges because most years they ask us to bring and wear our badges to school, but after a few weeks, they forget about the badges and don’t enforce it,” Sher said.

Despite this, Halevi wants to ensure that every student wears their ID badge so that the security guards can recognize students and differentiate between who belongs at JDS and who is a potential threat.

“We can’t expect our security guard to recognize each and every person that comes in and remember everybody,” Halevi said. “.…We always try to make sure everybody is safe and secure. We just want to make sure we have eyes everywhere we can.”