I’ve been meaning to write a follow up post about John, the what-appears to-be-former-security-guard-at-OCHSA. It seems as though he was in fact a casualty of the school’s growth and its decision to hire members of the Santa Ana police department to patrol the campus and provide security services. (You can get the back story here.)
Two weeks into the start of the school year and there’s been no sign of John. Too bad. His demeanor and friendliness were a great asset to the school. I’ve heard he’s been spotted working down the street at OCEAA (Orange County Education Arts Academy). I haven’t confirmed this but my thought is this, if it’s true: OCEAA’s gain is our loss. This point was driven home this week in particular when I had a run-in of sorts with one of OCHSA’s new Resource Officers.
The addition of a dedicated resource officer this year came with the promise that in exchange for the salary of a full-time police officer, a patrol vehicle, uniforms and other equipment, this staff member’s sole responsibility was to “protect the school’s property, resources and maintain safety and security of students and staff…. (as well as) monitor pedestrian and vehicular traffic for enhanced travel safety to and from school on a daily basis.”
Well that sounds reasonable and in the best interest of everybody, right?
Yes, but, here’s the thing: I have noticed not just one new resource officer, but a whole team of them. They’re everywhere after school, all uniformed up and official looking. And I’m not sure I like it. Seems weird to have police officers everywhere. Typically, a heavy police presence signals danger or mischief of some sort — like there is something to be concerned about. Is there? I don’t think so. Apparently, they stand guard around the perimeter of the campus during lunch break too giving my daughter that same creepy feeling. We’ve joked about them being like dementors – but instead of guarding Azkaban, they’re guarding OCHSA. What gives?
The kicker was this week when at pick up I was kind of roughed up by one of these guys. During my routine afternoon carpool run, I was hurried, bullied, yelled at and encouraged to drive off while my kiddos were half loaded and unbuckled. Geesh! I tried to keep my cool but this “safety officer” was relentless. He kept motioning me to move up and when I didn’t (my door was open and the kids were still loading/buckling up!) he aggressively whistled at me. When I rolled down my window to explain, “Hey my kids are still loading, the passenger door is still open and everybody’s not buckled!” I got no sympathy or apology — just more aggression. I couldn’t help but wonder what the problem was. I arrived later than usual, there were very few cars, my kids were ready and waiting for me and loaded relatively quickly. So what was his beef?
I left feeling flustered and insulted and with the lingering question: If this guy is a police officer, isn’t he trained to handle real emergencies and crisis? Why is he losing his cool over something so routine and mundane?
John never did.
(UPDATE 9/16/11: John as been spotted and apears to be BACK working at OCHSA in some capacity. Details to follow soon, I hope. Yay John, yay OCHSA!)
(UPDATE 3/28/12: Well, the school year is nearly over, and I have to say the security guard situation has really calmed down quite a bit. In fact, me and Mr. Security guard [from above] have even become friendly. He seems like a nice guy. See? It’s true what they say: “Never judge a book by its cover.” Isn’t it great that I am not even a student at OCHSA but it’s still teaching me what I need to know. The art of diplomacy. Love that!)