School Security Jobs on Hold after Reaction to Pay Rate

The Patriot Ledger

RANDOLPH - The two security assistant jobs at Randolph High School won't be filled until the pay and qualifications are reviewed, Superintendent of Schools Richard Silverman said.

Questions were raised about the proposed salary of $24 an hour. That is $10 or more above the starting pay for most private security guards, and would be higher than the base pay for some Randolph police officers.

Silverman said he was unaware that the pay for the position was an issue until he was asked about it in an interview Thursday night.

"I think the concerns raised are reasonable," Silverman said. "I only wish people brought those concerns to me earlier. I wish they had because they are good concerns."

Silverman had defended the proposed pay, saying that security would not be the only duty of the two employees. They would also have frequent contact with students, trying to head off problems before they lead to violence.

"They're more than just a security guard," Silverman said Thursday. "They're really more of a counseling role." He said he has directed his staff to look at the duties, qualifications and the pay for comparable jobs in other school systems. The review will be done by the school department personnel office and Randolph High School officials.

Silverman said the review will be done quickly. "We want to make a decision very soon" about filling the jobs, he said.

The job posting lists experience with adolescent programs and a background in education as requirements, but doesn't mention if a college degree is required. Other qualifications include good communication skills, positive history in working with diverse communities and training in CPR.

The hirings are among several steps being taken to improve security at the school after several violent incidents in recent months.

Other measures include limiting access to the main entrance, requiring students and staff to wear their ID badges, using metal-detecting wands and rxpanding the school's peer mediation team.

Entry level pay offered by security companies ranges from $9.75 to $14 an hour, according to recent advertisements.

The Transportation Security Administration, which screens airline passengers, is offering $13.57 an hour for new employees.

At the lowest step of the pay scale, a Randolph police officer receives $19.89 an hour without differentials or education incentives.

The security assistants would be paid close to the $24.95 base rate of a Randolph police sergeant, without differentials or education incentives, according to the town's contract with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.