Wednesday, May 23, 2012
“Wednesday!” I greet the security guard cheerfully as I walk in.
“You got it,” she replies.
“Goin’ slow, right?”
“Oh my Gawd.” She shakes her head.
“It’s because of Memorial Day, right? It goes so slow waiting for Friday.”
“You can say that again. I’m goin’ crazy. I cannot wait.” These guards work hard for the money. Their shifts can be extremely long, from 6:30 am to 10 pm, depending on the needs of the building. It’s easy to walk into a school and see a couple of uniformed school safety officers laughing and “sitting around.” However, they are the eyes and ears of the school. Everyone depends on them. Everything bumps up to their desks: flaring tempers, flying fists, crabby administrators, sobbing children, threats, litter, personal secrets from isolated adolescents. They don’t get rewarded with long summer vacations like teachers. They have to keep up with their training sessions. They are serious guardians of the peace. They need to maintain their sense of humor. They have their own families with children, often students in the public schools. They are role models, adult confidants for kids who wake up in shelters or single-parent homes where parenting takes second and third place to survival issues. They keep the school safe. They help keep the kids straight. They are surrogate parents, psychologists, friends and nurturers. They are tough, strong and big hearted. When you visit a school, make friends with them. They might be the ones you call on in your moment of need. They got your back.