The Florida Department of Education has distributed $25 million in security funding—of $43 million allocated by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—to more than 130 Jewish day schools and preschools across the state, the governor’s office announced earlier this week.
“During a time of increased antisemitism around the world, Florida will continue to protect the Jewish community,” DeSantis stated on Jan. 30. “Today’s funding will give Florida’s Jewish day schools the tools they need to continue to keep their students safe.”
The money will help schools “update their security equipment and technology, which is almost never a ‘one and done’ purchase,” according to Alex Silverstein, community security director at the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida.
“Security technology evolves, just as the threats to the community evolve,” he told JNS. “It is of vital importance that our Jewish schools, charged with educating and protecting our most precious assets, be able to adjust their security postures as any threat presents itself.”
The state legislature authorized the security funds in a special session last fall, and DeSantis signed them into law in November.
As part of the funding package, Jewish schools in the state—large or small, day schools or preschools—received funds for the purchase and installation of security infrastructure, perimeter lighting, door materials, fencing, security cameras and more.
Schools can also use the funds to hire security personnel and to train staff on emergency procedures and threat awareness.
The governor and state legislature have “made the security of the Jewish community a top priority,” Rabbi Moshe Matz, executive director of Agudath Israel of America’s Florida office, told JNS. “The unprecedented amount of funding adds another layer of security and peace of mind for parents and staff.”
“Because of Governor DeSantis’s bold leadership, Florida’s Jewish Day Schools will be safer than ever before,” stated Manny Diaz Jr., Florida commissioner of education. “We will continue to stand with and support the Jewish community.”
The most recent public data on antisemitism in Florida is from 2022, well before Hamas’s Oct. 7, 2023 terror attacks on Israel. Since Oct. 7, Jew-hatred has surged worldwide.