Court slams gov't on school protection

PMO proposes combination of some fortified classrooms and "safe areas."

kassam drill 298.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
kassam drill 298.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The High Court of Justice remained unconvinced on Thursday that the government's proposal to provide full fortification for first, second, and third grade classrooms and "safe areas" for older primary school pupils in Gaza periphery communities was an adequate solution to the ongoing threat of Kassam rocket attacks. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch said following a discussion on the current state of protection in those communities' schools that she did not believe 15 seconds - the amount of time between a Kassam alert and the landing of the rocket - was sufficient for pupils in unfortified classrooms to reach a designated safe area. The government requested 45 days in which to examine and report on the progress of the school fortifications, which the Prime Minister's Office said Thursday would be completed by the start of the 2007-8 school year at an estimated cost of NIS 110 million. As the court was debating the issue, a Kassam rocket landed near Ashkelon. No wounded or damage were reported. In November, Beinisch severely reprimanded the state for failing to reinforce all the classrooms in Sderot. "Dozens of kindergartens are unprotected," Beinisch told the state representatives. "It is inconceivable that schools will be closed because of Kassam rockets. The fact is that people's lives are at stake." Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.