I had occasion to think deeply about security this week, when the School Community Security Group (CSG) forwarded an article on the topic to me. The recent tensions in Israel meant that those who keep us safe at Carmel School were considering and discussing measures to ensure that we continue to enjoy the freedoms we are accustomed to in Perth. Far from being disturbed that this was necessary, I found it highly reassuring to learn that, behind the scenes, the experts in these matters are always thinking strategically about what we need to do.

For me, commencing at a Jewish school meant a serious consideration of security matters. All schools take the safety of their students and staff seriously, but there are clearly extra considerations necessary for us as a Jewish school. Hearing that I would be accompanied on gate duty by a security guard was initially a scary thought but has in reality been a delight – the young people who keep watch over us all in the mornings and as we leave the campus in the afternoon do a fabulous job and are always a source of thoughtful conversation.

CSG is also an excellent opportunity for our Carmel graduates to remain involved with and contribute to the School and the wider community’s success. We are always looking for opportunities to support our graduates to remain connected after compulsory schooling ends and joining CSG is one way of many in which they can choose to work with us to influence current and future students. I was surprised and impressed to find out recently that there are different CSG roles available to interest a variety of people, not just the physical protection ones most visible to us.

For example, behind the scenes control room operators, research analysts and human resources staff also work away in the name of security. There are local and national training and networking opportunities, and another great advantage of the organisation is that it develops skills readily applicable to all walks of life, enabling OKCs to add to their resume so that they are well ahead of others when applying for jobs. (I understand that there are significant social benefits to working for CSG, too, and enjoy hearing about various go karting and paintball exploits, but I’m not sure I’m supposed to know about these, so I won’t provide any further details). Any current or past Carmel students who would like to find out more about the opportunities afforded by CSG should contact CSG leadership via info@csgwa.com.au

The contributions of parent volunteers carrying out their termly duty at the entrances to our Primary School and High School in rain or shine are genuinely appreciated as another way we ensure school safety. An extra pair of eyes never goes amiss and it is not hard to imagine a situation where having a person readily available to CSG would make a significant difference. If your duty is at a time that you can’t attend, please do your utmost to swap with another parent - the hardest thing for us is when people simply don’t turn up for their duty and we are left with a gap. 99% of the time this will not result in disaster, but I’m sure you can imagine an emergency situation when we have to manage the simultaneous entry or exit of large numbers of students. In this case, the consequences of having one fewer person physically present could be significant. CSG personnel are currently working on new ways to help educate parent marshals on how to carry out their vital role effectively, this may include creating a video with the help of Mr Duthie, we thank them for all their efforts.

We are, of course, grateful to all members of the community who provide their assistance in many ways. Hard-working volunteers have enabled Di Horwitz, our new canteen manager, to make delicious food for the students and staff. The canteen has returned to being run by an employee of the School, assisted by volunteers. Volunteering in this way is great for our students, who are always keen to see their family getting involved. If you or someone you know can sign up for a weekly canteen helping stint, or even an occasional session, we would be very grateful to hear from you (canteen@carmel.wa.edu.au) and my hope is that with more volunteers, we will be able to re-open the High School canteen at lunchtime.

Another way in which our community has come together for everybody’s benefit is for Sunday night’s Pub Quiz (August 21st), hosted by the fabulous Carmel P&F. They have worked hard to organise a brilliant night and we shall soon see whether my secret hope that one of the Carmel School staff tables wins will be realised. Even if this doesn’t eventuate, everyone’s a winner – it will be a fun night out and the High School library will benefit from a selection of great new books for our students to read.

As always, I thank those of you who support our school with your assistance, in whatever context. And if you haven’t yet got involved, please do - we really would appreciate your help, whether it be in food preparation, quiz participation or helping maintain campus security.

Have a safe weekend.
Shabbat shalom.

Julie Harris