Education Ministry orders security escort for schools trips to J'lem

In light of the worsening security situation, the Education Ministry put out guidelines to ensure the safety of school excursions in the capital.

 An Israeli Border Police officer patrols the area near Damascus Gate to Jerusalem's Old City on Jerusalem Day, on May 29, 2022. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
An Israeli Border Police officer patrols the area near Damascus Gate to Jerusalem's Old City on Jerusalem Day, on May 29, 2022.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

Every school trip in the city of Jerusalem has to be coordinated in advance with the Education Ministry and will need to be accompanied by armed security, according to Israeli media reports on Friday.

The Education Ministry's new guidelines come on the background of rising tension in the current security situation which has seen more terror attacks carried out both in the West Bank and Jerusalem in past weeks.

Starting immediately, every trip will have to be accompanied by one security guard per every 50 students. All schools planning trips in Jerusalem will have to coordinate them in advance with the Education Ministry.

"As you know, trips and outdoor activities in the city of Jerusalem do not require coordination, but following this decision, any trip or activity in the city of Jerusalem will have to do a full coordination through the Bureau for Coordination of Trips in the Ministry of Education," said Aryeh Mor, Director of the Security and Safety Division at the Education Ministry

"In assessing the situation, it was decided to increase the level of security in the city of Jerusalem so that every trip and activity outside of school will be secured by a security guard with a ratio of one to fifty. The rest of the country will operate in accordance with the usual travel security procedure," Tomer Ovadia, head of security for educational institutions in the police, wrote in the guidelines.

ALUT Children’s Excursion to Sataf  (credit: KKL-JNF)ALUT Children’s Excursion to Sataf (credit: KKL-JNF)

"In the coming period, a map for planning and coordinating trips will come into effect with the Israel Police districts and the relevant agencies."

The new guidelines are expected to stay in effect at least until Israel's Independence Day at the end of April.

Teachers aren't happy

"It's one big mess and chaos since we received the terrible news," one of the teachers who received the updated instructions from the Ministry of Education told N12. "We planned to take out the special education students at our school for volunteer activities with different groups, some of them were supposed to join the Purim market at other schools and some of them for a procession in the neighborhood. Now we are required to issue a security permit for every activity and to provide a close security guard."

Teachers also warned of the financial implications the new guidelines have for the schools.

"An activity that was supposed to be free will now cost almost NIS 10,000 and that's even before we talked about the inability of the security companies to respond to us with such amounts. I estimate that there are other schools that are in this situation, so you can understand the extent of the chaos. I've been a teacher for twenty years and I've never needed security in Jerusalem or to coordinate trips," one teacher told N12.