Monday, February 12, 2007

Security


I sometimes use the bathroom in my trailer between classes. When you teach 4 classes in a row and you are out there, it is a necessity. Today, while I was in there I heard a knock on the door. Finishing up, I opened the door to see a strange man in the room. At first I thought he must be part of the custodial staff. When I asked him if I could help him, he replied "I need to use the bathroom" and went in. He came out in a few minutes, said, "I see you are busy" (my class had arrived) and left.

While I didn't react when the kids were there, I was really shaken up and went to the head of security as soon as the class was over. If this man could just walk in from the outside, anyone can just walk in. Suppose he had a gun or a knife? He could have robbed or assaulted one or all of us.

The AP of security was clearly taken aback by this incident. He called in the head of the security guards and I told him what had happened and I wrote it up. He promised to have someone outside tomorrow during that time.


I kept insisting that the old man that came in the room wasn't the problem. The problem was that anyone can just walk in whenever they want. There is no security by the trailers and we are located by an open gate off the main street. I was told that there was no money for full time security out there. The school knows this is a problem and it will be looked into. So much for children and safety first. I know the issue is being brought to the attention of our chapter chairman. Maybe he can get something done.

And of course, the teachers are blamed for leaving the trailers unlocked. Kids do have to enter and exit between periods so that will not solve the problem. My trailer's door does not close properly. I've reported it a few times but it has not been fixed. The AP security called it into the custodian while I was sitting there but, he insisted on saying the lock doesn't work (not true--the lock works fine once the door is closed). So now, the custodian will check the door and once again say that there is nothing wrong with it.

I always thought children were the most precious things around. Gold and money gets better protection than they do in my school.

17 comments:

NYC Educator said...

I work in two trailers with doors that don't close properly. Actually, they're falling apart, and fairly rapidly too.

That's incredible the guy just came in. Who was he, how did he even know the trailers had bathrooms, and where does he get off walking into a school like that?

And what, if anything, are they going to do about it? Do they think putting someone out there for one day is the way to go? I don't.

Pissedoffteacher said...

Those are my sentiments exactly. I know the exec board is going to take up the issue on Thursday, but knowing our wonderful CC, who knows where it will go. Meanwhile, I am going to be complaining loudly and I hope other trailer teachers do the same.

Shefi said...

I don't get it. Why are you living/working in a trailer? I thought you were teaching in a school? And b) why didn't you say anything to the man? Apparently, YOU are one of those who think anyone can just walk in.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I did speak to the man! If a door can't be locked no one can be kept out. I'm not superman.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marco Polo, do you know how to read or what?? The teacher was in the trailer using the bathroom between classes. She walked out of the bathroom and there was this total stranger asking to use the bathroom. I have no idea where you live, but it obviously isn't NYC. You don't confront strangers here, they can be wingnuts, predators, thieves, or ax murderers. All kinds of scenarios could occur. Use your imagination, if you have any. The school is overcrowded,at about 255% capacity. NYC's answer is larger classes and trailers. This teacher is very street savvy. She did absolutely the right thing.

The very nice man said...

Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. I do like your "kvetching" (moaning) and it just shows that we do live in a crazy world!

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Your story is absolutely chilling. I trust that something will be done NOW to make you and your students more secure. Having a trailer near an open, public gate, and a door that won't lock properly is a recipe for disaster. I'm not an alarmist, but this is basic SAFETY we're talking about here. You and your students deserve better than what you're getting.

On the Edge said...

Around here, we call 'em "temps" (short for temporary, but they're really not). Anyway, I worry about security as well. The teachers in temps are really the first line of defense for anybody who opts to intrude our school from the rear. This fact worries me.

Whenever we have a lock-down drill, I bring up our vulnerability to the administrators; however, they don't have any answers to this problem. My district has spent a shit-load of money upgrading the district offices, remodeling high schools, installing & maintaining state-of-the-art technologiy (including spy-ware on teacher's computers). We are currently in negotiations for a new contract, and the superintendent has hired an outside contractor to strong-arm the deal. Is this kind of security issue part of the big picture plan for improvements? No, of course not.

I've gotten way off track here, but it's annoying that student & staff safety is far down the line of priorities in schools, even after Columbine . . .

It should be a crime the the administrator and security haven't thought about your problem more thoroughly.

Pissedoffteacher said...

So far nothing has been done about the situation. A custodian did come out to check the door and the verdict is--the hinges are broken and a new door has to be ordered (probably not in my life time.) I had a coverage in a different trailer today and saw that door had the same problems. There is still no security around. No one came in to talk to the kids to try to get a handle on who the guy was. Security did not even patrol during that period, as I was promised. I did speak to our chapter chairman and he promised to make this issue a priority, but I don't trust him either.

I am still nervous. I spent the whole day with one eye on the door. The kids noticed I was distracted and just told them I had things on my mind. No reason to scare them with my paranoia.

My husband freaked out when he heard. If it was up to him, I would be handing in my retirement papers today. Luckily, it is not up to him. I'll keep everyone informed. Thanks for your concern and support.

Anonymous said...

You might ask your CL if he'd like help drafting the Article 10 grievance. Even hearing that they are coming can make administrators jumpy. And, I know it is work for you, but please make sure that an incident report was filed (ask the AP Security for a copy, and if one does not exist, a form for filling one out. Sometimes they try to give out xeroxes of the form, but then they all have the same control number, you'll need to point this out.)

There are picky safety plan violations, and then there is serious stuff. This sounds serious.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I'm not so sure I will follow through on the grievance. The school seems to be dealing with the problem. I did fill out the incident report and have to pick up my copy tomorrow.

They know when they deal with me, they have to take action.

Anonymous said...

It is good they know you are serious. The Chapter Leader knows there is a potential safety grievance, if administration drags its feet?

Indicating that you might help writing it up (at some unspecified future date) may be useful to let both administration and the CL know that this is serious, it is a big deal. But you know your school.

Most importantly, one teacher speaking up helps protect the safety of many teachers. I hope your colleagues know what you did.

Shefi said...

Keep your hair on, ellie. I don't live in NYC or in the US for that matter. Which is perhaps why I'm having a hard time relating to the stories Pissed Off tells. I can't understand the context. Trailers? It just sounds like such a mickey-mouse arrangement. Yet this is supposed to be in the US, the best country in the world, right? Except it sounds like Afghanistan. It just doesn't fit.

It sounds from this story and the one about the snow that the "school" (and sorry, but it doesn't sound like any school I've attended or worked at) is breaking several laws and regulations. The situation just sounds completely unacceptable to me, perhaps even criminally negligent.

Anonymous said...

Marco, perhaps at one time we were the "best country in the world" but our values belie anything else that is said or written about us. Children are at best second class citizens in this country. They are only viewed as one category of consumer demographic. Yes, there is criminal negligence involved with the mayor of NY City's treatment of children. You don't have to ask me, I have an 11 year old and live here. I do feel awfully defensive of myself and my colleagues, hence my volatile reaction to your comments; education is definitely under attack in this country. I have felt (don't call me crazy yet) that this country is sliding toward a fascist style government, if not a dictatorship, run by corporations-a corporocracy!!?? I absolutely agree with your observations as to the criminal negligence of the government. The education system is viewed as another way to dupe the public and make money with crooked no bid contracts. Intelligence and intellect are not respected in this country or culture, only the ability to "get ahead" or "get over" financially. The philosophy is that "anyone" can be a teacher. This approach has taken the heart and soul out of the profession that Pissed Off Teacher and many others of us, including myself, went into out of love of children and learning.

Pissedoffteacher said...

Thanks for your comments, Ellie. I am going to post some pictures of my trailer so people can get a feel of the room I teach in. And, believe it or not, it is better than some of the rooms inside the building. There are rooms with no windows! There are rooms that are split in half and the new wall only goes halfway to the top.

The people that run the city are only looking for profits. Since children don't show a profit at such a young age, they are not important. And, it is attitudes like this that is driving good teachers away from the classroom. One of the best teachers in my department just retired because she couldn't deal with the BS anymore.

Marco Polo--I am happy that you work in a civilized environment. Maybe that is why Japanese people are known for their intellect and abilities to get things done.

On the Edge said...

The general public doesn't value education partly because they belive it should be run like a business; however the reality is that it can never work that way. There is no money to be made is educating and empowering children. We are proving to be a short-sighted nation in a sorry state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

Nothing seems to amaze me anymore..I bet if someone checked SuitLover's bathroom, this door would be locked, clean and highly secure.