Melbourne’s Largest Jewish School to Hire Armed Security Guards to Patrol Campus
The largest Jewish school in Australian Victoria is set to become the first in the southeastern state to hire armed security guards, The Age reported on Sunday.
According to the report, Mount Scopus Memorial College’s three Melbourne campuses will be patrolled from this week forward by security personnel carrying guns, though Principal Rabbi James Kennard insisted the initiative was not in response to any specific threat.
Rather, increased violence against Jewish facilities, from the Kosher supermarket attack in Paris and the shooting at a Copenhagen’s main synagogue earlier this year, to intense harassment on a school bus filled with Jewish students in Australia, triggered the school’s decision to employ armed guards.
“Our foremost priority remains the safety of our students and staff,” said Kennard, according to the report. He said the armed guards “best met” the co-ed school’s needs. Administrators from Mount Scopus, a kindergarten through 12th grade school with some 1530 students, consulted with local police before arranging the new security personnel.
The Age reported that other Jewish schools in Melbourne were likely to follow suit, although security was already beefed up following the 2012 shooting rampage outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.
Australia’s federal government announced in March an $18 million ($12.5 million) initiative to boost security at Australian religious schools, the bulk of which went to 17 Jewish schools and 15 Muslim schools for security guards and surveillance equipment, according to the report.