Children First: Agudah Part of Ohio School Safety Initiative

Ohio Statehouse
Photo Credits: Christian Hinkle /

What happens when you bring more than forty experts together in one room?

You get positive energy, vast knowledge, and real solutions.

You get the Ohio School Safety Working Group (OSSWG).

Group member, Rabbi Yitz Frank, Agudath Israel Ohio Director, attended the first OSSWG meeting this past Tuesday, December 17.

Tragedy in August

The story has its beginnings in a tragic school shooting on August 24 in Dayton, Ohio. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine quickly responded with the STRONG Ohio plan. It’s a 17-point plan to reduce gun violence and increase mental health treatment.

As part of that effort, Governor DeWine created the Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC), a statewide office focused on assisting educators and law enforcement in preventing, preparing for, and responding to threats and acts of violence. He also called for the creation of a working group to advise the OSSC.

Creating the Working Group

Earlier in December, Governor Mike DeWine announced the more than forty members of the OSSWG. It’s a cross-disciplinary team of experts in public safety, education, mental health, emergency management, and other school safety-based fields. Governor DeWine’s appointment of Rabbi Frank is a testament to Rabbi Frank’s experience and success in advocating for nonpublic schools.

“Members of this working group all have a common goal of making Ohio’s schools as safe as they possibly can be,” said Governor DeWine. “I’m confident that this group will be a great asset as they work to promote a safe environment for Ohio’s school students and school employees.”

Accepting the Charge

The first OSSWG meeting set the tone and the agenda for the group. Thomas Stickrath, Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, charged the members with their duties: to continuously evaluate school safety programs and resources and identify areas of improvement.

Rabbi Frank is honored to be part of this group, working for the safety of Ohio’s schoolchildren. This initiative is particularly important for Jewish schools that always face higher threats of anti-Semitic violence.

“Agudah thanks Governor DeWine for his commitment to putting kids first and for including representatives of nonpublic schools in crafting a solution to this very serious problem,” says Rabbi Frank.