In light of recent events, Chamblee Charter High School is among nearly every school in the US fearing for safety of the students.
But securing the hallways are two campus supervisors and one school resource officer: Ron Brown, Roosevelt Weatherly, and Johnny Burnette, respectively.
“I think it should be changed to public safety officer,” said Brown. “I really don’t supervise any subordinates. We are here for the safety and security of students and staff here at Chamblee High School.”
All three spend their days checking security tapes, patrolling the halls, and working to ensure the safety of each individual student.
“For the most part, it’s a lot of walking,” said Brown. “I spend a lot of time during the day mentoring and counseling students. There may even be an adult who needs mentoring. I think our position wears a lot of hats.”
A typical day begins with bus duty and crosswalk duty, recording buses and watching for unusual persons approaching the building.
“Bus duty starts at 7:30,” said Weatherly. “I check and record all the buses and the times that they come in, and at the same time I’m checking security, making sure we do not have any intruders, especially early in the morning. I normally make sure everybody has badges on when they do come in.”
After bus duty, the campus supervisors walk the halls, patrolling for skipping students and partially-opened doors.
“Our duties cover both inside and outside the school building,” said Brown. “If there’s anything that’s not working properly, it is our job to report that to the maintenance staff to make certain that it’s repaired, because that could be a safety issue.”
But some problems are more complicated than an open door.
“For us here at Chamblee, a daily occurrence is kids are skipping and stealing,” said Brown. “We get a lot of theft reports. We get a lot of skippers.”
Brown, Weatherly, and Burnette are the first responders in any emergency cases, whether it be medical, discipline, or safety. Incidences of compromised school safety happen more than one may think.
“There are things that happen on a daily basis,” said Brown. “Something just happened: a staff member ordered UberEats. The proper process should’ve been that the delivery driver checked in here at the front counter and the teacher met that delivery driver here to obtain the food. Instead, that delivery driver was sent to that individual’s classroom. That’s definitely a safety issue, for not only the staff member but also the students as well. That just happened about ten minutes ago.”
More dangerous emergencies occur less often, but still periodically.
“[A situation that would endanger Chamblee] has really only happened two or three times, and two of them I could hit head on and deal with the situation right then,” said Burnette. “One of them was a person that did nothing wrong. There were just rumors that the kid had done something, and I had to take immediate action, because it was a threat that second. The rumor did not happen.”
There have also been a number of reports of weapons on school campus.
“We had an incident six years where we felt a student had some guns in the stadium, and we found out that this person did have some weapons,” said Weatherly. “I didn’t think he was going to do anything. I just thought he was going to sell them. Nothing happened. He got arrested and everything.”
A similar situation happened with Burnette as well.
“The other one was two years ago when a kid was accused of having a knife on his person. I took control of the situation and did find a knife on him,” said Burnette. “He wasn’t going to hurt anyone with it, but if it’s more than a three inch blade, we have to charge him with it. He was honest about everything.”
After the daily routine of checking security footage and patrolling the halls, the campus supervisors begin bus duty.
“I have bus duty again, and record all of the buses that are coming in,” said Weatherly. “Normally 3:30 to 3:45 is the end of my day, but Mr. Brown will continue to patrol until around 7:00.”
Beyond their work lives, these men have their own outside hobbies and interests. Weatherly coaches for the basketball team.
“I am the head JV and ninth grade coach,” said Weatherly. “This is the first year I’ve ever had a ninth grade team, so that’s exciting. That’s my enjoyment, coaching basketball and teaching players how to play the game.”
Brown is a fanatic of record-smashing ‘Black Panther.’
“I saw ‘Black Panther’ on President’s Day. Great movie. Great entertainment,” said Brown. “However, I hope people look past the entertainment value of ‘Black Panther’ and get the message from the movie. I think, as a people, especially black people, what’s exciting for me is the potential for growth as a people.”
Burnette has a small acreage of land across the street from his grandmother in Toccoa. He has a small farm there, but it has dwindled in recent years.
“Me and my grandmother usually would plant corn, turnips, collard greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, blueberries. We have a pecan orchard,” he said. “Recently she’s had a knee replacement and is slowing down a bit, and I haven’t had a lot of time to deal with the garden.”
Burnette drives for an hour and 45 minutes in the morning to get to school, and even more in the afternoon to get home through traffic. The reward of his commitment, he feels however, is worth the commitment.
“If I didn’t have this to come to, my live would be less for not having it,” said Burnette. “To me this is a career that means a lot.”