Schools Takes Safety Seriously

Hector Martinez acts as Longfellow’s Safety and Security Assistant. (Photo by Soraya L. and Madelyne B.)

Every morning, almost 1,300 students go to school. Every afternoon, nearly 1,300 students go home. Throughout that time, there are people to help students get safely through the day. They help with things ranging from walking around the corridors to crossing the street. 

“The crossing guard is extremely helpful and keeps us safe, especially during the rush hour times in the morning and afternoon,” said 8th grader Mary T. 

The crossing guard is here to make sure that students are crossing the busy street intersecting Kirby and Westmoreland safely. According to Madelyne B, a 7th grader at Longfellow who walks home, the intersection is overcrowded with students crossing the street in the morning and afternoon. It is up to the crossing guard to direct traffic and make sure that all the students end up at school in one piece.

According to the Nursing Clio, a publication focused on health, school safety patrols were first hired in the early 1920s because of an increase of concern by parents due to a surge in automobile manufacturing. Deaths and crossing incidents involving students on the way to school were also factors in creating the job of safety patrols. The earliest safety patrol was in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1923. 

The crossing guard is not the only one who keeps us safe, though. We’ve also got a School Resource Officer on site.  His name is Officer Horan, and his job is to enforce the law. He is also considered a law-related counselor or educator.

“Some of the challenges are being able to really share with the students things that will keep them out of trouble as they grow up,” said Officer Horan, “[and] some of the laws that may affect them when they grow up.” 

Officer Horan made it clear that his job here is not to arrest people. He would like students to understand that he is not the enemy. 

“Obviously, if someone commits a crime, I’m here to deal with that, but most of my job is not related to that. It’s helping you guys as students to learn about everything, not just what they teach you in the classroom, but learn about other real-world stuff.”

Horan also says that covid has affected his job.  He used to come into the gym to speak with large groups of students.  But for covid safety, he has had to avoid gathering large groups of students together. 

“I would go in and talk to the students, but now I have to limit how much contact I get with people. Since I limit student interactions, I miss out on talking with you all.”

Hector Martinez is the Safety and Security Assistant, and together he and Officer Horan patrol the hallways, guide the students, tell the buses when to leave, and much more. Their jobs also include enforcing covid regulations. With the pandemic going on, it might be harder to do those jobs. 

“A lot of times, it comes down to safety. We keep thinking things are going to be normal, and as adults, we have to adjust and go with the flow. There’s nothing we [the staff] can do to fix covid, so we just have to follow the rules to keep everyone safe,” said Martinez. 

Martinez said that the hardest part of his job is students not knowing who he is.  “I tell them to stop doing something, and they’re like ‘who’s this guy?’ Because I’m new here, this is my first year, and students don’t know what my role is here and what I do.” 

Hector Martinez, the safety and security assistant

There are many safety officers here at Longfellow who support students and help them during their journey. A few of their jobs include: providing safety and protection to faculty, students, property, and equipment and making sure that all the laws, rules, and regulations are followed.  So next time you see one of them, be sure to say hello.