Privatized security should not replace our valued, community-oriented hall monitors


Graphic by Riley Lynch ’18

They provide guidance, emotional support and love to students. They deliver attendance sheets, packages and other items for teachers. They are family-oriented individuals who are part of the South community. They have invested years of hard work and dedication to South. Our hall monitors love being at our school, and go above and beyond their jobs each and every day in countless ways, ways security personnel would not.

We at the Tower are firmly against privatizing our custodial services and replacing any of our hall monitors with security guards.

Yes, the district does have a $2 million deficit. There is declining enrollment and lack of funding by the state of Michigan to the school district. Cuts must be made or revenue must increase in order for the district to establish a balanced budget by June. However, there are better ways to do this.

One way to reduce costs on a large scale is to close the district building. This building is old and larger than the size the district needs it to be and costly to maintain. Closing this building would be much more cost-efficient than firing a few of our hall monitors, who happen to be the lowest paid employees in the school system.

Our hall monitors provide too monumental a service to merely sacrifice their jobs due to costs that could be better reduced elsewhere.

According to Dr. Jon Dean, the Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services, administration provided the board of education with a list of things that could be done to counter the imminent budget issue in the district. On that list was the proposal of privatizing South’s custodial services and switching the school’s hall monitor system to mirror the method currently implemented at North– replacing a certain number of hall monitors with privatized security guards.

Dean said the district has flexibility with how many of South’s hall monitors they replace with privatized security. He said they could choose to replace most of the hall monitors and mirror North’s system, they could keep all of the hall monitors and not hire any security personnel or they could choose to replace all of the hall monitors and move to complete security service at South.

The district most likely will not decide on this issue until June when they vote to adopt the entire new budget, which would include these changes, according to Dean.

We believe security guards will be threatening and will trigger a backlash from the students and community, and would fail to exceed their job descriptions and love our school as our hall monitors do.

Students don’t want to go to a school where we are intimidated and made to feel unsafe by security guards who we don’t trust, instead of being supported by our hall monitors who we have known and loved for years. If implemented, the move to privatize our hall monitors would cause students and parents to complain and respond negatively to the situation.

We also believe this possible budget reduction would decrease enrollment in the school.

One of the reasons the district needs to make these budget cuts in the first place is due to the decline in the number of students they educate, and administration has even proposed opening up the district to non-residents who pay tuition, according to Dean. Employing security guards could potentially prove to cost the district more money due to the backlash of students and the possible decrease in enrollment.

“No one is going to want to send or want their children to go (to school) and have security guards. It’s threatening,” Deb Dempsey, secretary at the front desk at South, said at the school board meeting on April 24. “Security guards at a school are a strong deterrent to new enrollment, we believe. We say no to privatization completely.”

We firmly believe that those employed by a security firm instead of the district, who are not part of the community and don’t have strong relationships with the students and staff, will in no way care about the students as much or be the role model and confidant the hall monitors have proven to be. The security guards would not come to South every day because they love the school and want to be there, but only because if they do, they get a paycheck.

At the board meeting, several students shared some experiences they have had with our hall monitors that significantly improved their high school experience and that would not have happened had security guards been in the hall monitor’s place.

Charlotte Martinez ’19 talked about how whenever her or her friends are having rough days, they know they can trust the hall monitors enough to confide in them and receive emotional support in return. This would not be the case with security personnel.

The Tower believes there are other ways to develop a balanced budget by June. Replacing any of our hall monitors with security guards is not one of those ways. Our hall monitors have formed bonds with us over the years, they are a precious part of our community and they love their jobs. The reduction in cost of hiring security personnel in no way merits the loss of our loved and valued hall monitors who provide us with invaluable services each and every day.