School Security Concerns

Glover “Sonny” Gardner, a commentary contributor to OIB, shares observations and concerns in his travels around the city. His latest centers on school security.

What’s going on with the school security guards being assigned to the city’s parks? These guys are being placed in a very dangerous situation. They don’t have radios, pepper spray or any type of defensive weapons. Above all, these guys don’t have police training. Are they supposed to intervene during a crime and become a casualty? They sure can’t be expected to call the police because they don’t even have radios. What are they going to use, their personal cell phones? Can you imagine an unarmed school security officer is killed because he is suspected to have seen a drug transaction? School security officers should work in the schools and the school security Department should be run by security directors and not the police department.

I can’t imagine the school security guards will be used to replace policemen. Who knows, maybe their job descriptions will be rewritten and they will be classified as public safety officers or auxiliary policemen. Maybe this is a new effort to cut down on police overtime. I guess soon they’ll be used at road construction sites which will definitely cut down on police overtime. Just a few years ago, police were assigned to write parking tickets downtown. Now the city has meter people who are paid at a lower rate to write tickets.

Who knows, maybe someone has determined there isn’t a need to have a highly paid police officer standing around while a worker goes down into a manhole. Who knows, maybe these school security officers will be trained to direct traffic. New York does that. It will free up our police force to be able to do police work and hopefully more crimes will be solved.

I truly believe there are those in city government who have a plan for both the police department and the fire department. It does not even sit right with the majority of the citizens who have to pay taxes that contribute to the retirement of police officers whose base pay is $70,000 and he retires with a pension of $90,000 – $100,000.

If you think there are problems in the public schools now, wait until auxiliary policemen who are not residents of the city are placed in the schools. This most likely means many non-city residents will be applying for the jobs. There will be people in those jobs who have little or no understanding of how an inner-city school works. They will most likely not be able to relate or even care about the parents or the children. The schools’ current security officers have gained a tremendous amount of experience in working with troubled students and unruly parents without having those parents arrested. I can see it now, parent clubbed over the head with a nightstick by an auxiliary police officer who has no experience in the public schools. Can you imagine an auxiliary policeman patrolling public school corridors with a gun?



  1. *** I’d rather have them in the neighborhood parks watching the kids than sitting in an empty school during school summer vacation. The more eyes the better. Besides, the ones I’ve seen had radios or cell phones and school P/D officers with them throughout the day visiting the different parks they’re assigned. The number of playground fights and overall vandalism, etc. in the parks appears to be way down this summer, wonder why? *** SAFETY FIRST ***

    1. I didn’t know there are a large number of fights and vandalism at the playgrounds. Maybe some of the guards have radios, but there are those who don’t have them. Yes, I did see a policeman sitting in his car. Not to be funny, but you have a policeman babysitting school guards who are babysitting the kids. Maybe it might’ve been a good idea to have camp counselors working at the playgrounds.

      Maybe it is a good idea to have the school guards at the playgrounds and maybe not. Is there a cutoff on the age of a person when a school guard should intervene? OK, so the guard breaks up a fight between a couple of kids and one is hurt. Does the city get sued? What if the security guard is beaten by a parent or relative who misunderstood the situation. A school security guard being what you say is idle is no reason to take him out of his job description.

      These guys are paid to be security guards inside a school, not disciplinarians at playgrounds.

  2. *** Summer school is over and most schools are empty 8-4pm. So what would be their school security functions, sitting in an empty building, cleaning with the custodians? And as far as when to intervene, just having extra eyes and ears to call 911 is better than none at all. City attorneys have probably looked at the do’s & don’ts but if the city gets sued, or a guard gets hurt there’s workmans comp for that and there’s a long line of suits against the city already so they would have to wait their turn, no? Besides if there’s a job conflict on duty, that’s what the school security Union is for! And yes, at times there are fights and vandalism in the parks; I live right across the street from one. I for one welcome and thank the school security and school police for being in the parks 8-4pm Mon. through Fri. for the last few weeks before school starts again ’cause the neighborhood and playground looks and feels safer in general! *** Camp Counselors would be welcomed, too! ***

    1. Just asking. Seemed strange to me. Didn’t know what the city had in mind. Being extra eyes I guess is good. My curiosity was why are they there. Anyway, the summer is about over and my concerns have been relieved by your informative explanations.


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