Schools Go on Strike to Protest Security Arrangements

The country's schools will hold a "warning strike" on Thursday from 8-10A.M. to protest the "deteriorating security situation and the lack of proper security at educational institutions." The strike will not include pre-school or special education institutions. The strike will not include nursery schools and special education schools, the organizers of the strike - the National Parents Association, MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) and the Union of Local Authorities - said yesterday.

The teachers unions have announced their support for the strike and that they "lend their strength to the parents in their just struggle against the abandonment of school children's security."

According to those organizing the strike, "the warning strike will take place unless the Israeli government immediately extends the hours which a guard is present at schools, so that a guard is present until all activities at the school are over." At present, educational institutes are guarded until 2 P.M. The Ministry of Public Security finances security at schools, and the state is obligated to the provision of security under the Compulsory Education Law.

Strike organizers are also demanding that security be declared a "favorable occupation," and that Orlev's bill, which the Knesset passed in its preliminary reading several days ago, be approved. Orlev's bill encourages newly released soldiers to seek employment in securing institutes of education.

The organizers are also demanding that the current guards be replaced by trained security officers. In addition, the organizers are demanding that smaller schools also have security. At present schools with less than 100 students are not guarded, as is the case with pre-schools, unless parents pay for the security guard. The chairman of the National Parents Organization, Erez Frankel, said "If our demands are not met within seven days, school will not resume after the Passover vacation."