State funding could go toward keeping Jewish schools safe after threats

State budget includes security for Jewish schools
Posted at 6:03 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 18:03:39-04

More than $600,000 in state funding could to help with security efforts at Jewish schools, if approved by the Governor. 

This comes after several threats were made toward Jewish Community Centers, including the JCC in Tampa earlier this year. 

While the threats turned out to be a bluff, supporters like Rabbi Mendy Dubrowski say the threats were a rude awakening. 

"It's alarming because you recognize that in this day and age your children are targets potentially," he said. 

His children attend the Hebrew Academy of Tampa Bay, where a man called the school and threatened to shoot children there last year. 

The directors immediately evacuated the school and called the FBI. 

Rabbi Dubrowski says even though those threats proved empty as well, it inspired him to get involved with the Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's office. 

He's happy to see that state funding could go toward adding security at his kids' school and schools around the state. 

The money could help schools around counties, including Hillsborough, pay for security cameras, gates and even extra patrols. 

"It gives you a sense of comfort knowing that you're not fighting this battle alone," he said. 

While other religious groups support the idea of helping with security measures, they'd also like to see funding for other groups as well. 

"One thing that this allocation is lacking," said Aida Mackic, who works with CAIR, "is recognizing other groups." 

Investigators think an arsonist is to blame for a fire at a Hillsborough Co. Mosque earlier this year.

Mackic also points to the fact that anti-Muslim attacks have increased in the last year. 

Mimi Jankovits, the Florida director for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, which played a role in getting lawmakers to set aside the money, says she thinks the government has the responsibility to help secure schools of all religions and backgrounds that have felt threatened in some way. 

Rabbi Dubrowski hopes the funding is the first step. 

"I think any facility that can demonstrate that they have a unique threat should have access to state funding," he said.