Big Bucks for School Security Staff

The Patriot Ledger

RANDOLPH - The school system is planning to pay $24 an hour for two "security assistants" to walk the halls of Randolph High School.

The pay is $10 or more an hour higher than what private security firms pay for entry-level guards. It's also higher than the base pay for Randolph police officers.

Superintendent of Schools Richard Silverman, who approved the creation of the jobs and then advertised them, justified the salaries, saying there's a lot more to the job than monitoring doorways and protecting property. "They're really (in) more of a counseling role," Silverman said last night.

He said they will patrol the school and have frequent contact with students in hopes of heading off potential problems. They will try to help the students develop a culture of respect and nonviolence, he said.

The job posting lists experience with adolescent programs and a background in education as requirements. Others include good communication skills, positive history in working with diverse populations and training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The deadline to apply for the jobs was last week.

The assistants are just one of several steps being implemented to improve security after several violent incidents at the school in recent months.

Other measures include limiting access to the main entrance only, student and staff ID badges, the purchase of metal detecting wands and expansion of the peer mediation program.

Silverman said the security assistants are an interim step for the remainder of this school year.

Also being considered is the creation of a "prevention team" that would deal with issues that could lead to violence, Silverman said.

Precinct 8 town meeting member Joseph Burke has spoken out against the hiring of the security assistants.

"I think thatâ??s a lot of money to hire these people," Burke said. "For that kind of money, they could hire pros from the police department."

Burke also feels the money should be used to expand school bus service, currently limited to students who live more than two miles from school.

Entry level salaries offered by security companies range from $9.75 to $14 per hour, according to recent advertisements.

The Transportation Security Administration, which oversees air traffic safety, is offering $13.57 per hour for new employees.

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

The security assistants would be paid close to the $24.95 per hour base rate of a Randolph police sergeant at the bottom of salary scale, according to the town's contract with the police union.