By Dexter O'Connell (Former Managing Editor, Former Columnist) [?]

Published: December 25, 2008 and Updated: March 17, 2009
Reprinted From The Tideline

Since school began, a small group of private security guards have been patrolling Pali’s campus. Is this because of the mysterious and indiscernible uptick in crime reported by LAUSD Police Officer Placenscia? No. Is it because Pali’s administrators have replaced beloved security guard supervisor Mr. Gracias and his enterprising staff with rent-a-cops? No. Is it because Pali needs more security due to a terrorist threat? No.

The reason that the rent-a-cops are on campus is, according to Security Officer Brown, one of the rent-a-cops, “to smell.” Be assured that I conducted an interview with Officer Brown and he does not smell bad, as far as I could tell. No, Officer Brown’s purpose on campus, along with his three colleagues, is to smell the scent of fire. “We’re on a fire watch patrol. We walk the campus looking for flames and smelling for smoke,” said the officer, a true gentleman.

Why, in a budget crisis, does Pali need security officers wandering the campus sniffing the air for the scent of fire? Apparently, our administration, distinguished this year not for their accomplishments but for their lack of grievous errors as compared to last year’s group of blundering incompetents, wasn’t responsible, at least directly, for the waste of money. The contractor repairing the fire alarm system installed and repaired three years ago decided to hire the officers. They declined to comment about their business practices.

None of these questions really bother me. I used to think it was worth it to point out those petty stupidities, but really, it’s not. I’ve spent enough time complaining and enough time trying, but educational institutions are just that: institutions. They serve, like any other institution, to perpetuate themselves. If education were the true goal, the three-year-old fire alarm would be perfectly adequate, the workers who came into the PA office and broke the PA system wouldn’t have been hired in the first place, and Ms. Richlin, alta cocker “teacher” of integrated science, never would have been hired. But what is past is past, and what will be will be.

A couple of days ago, I was talking to a freshman. He asked me about colleges and about how he could do well in school and achieve his goal of attending a four-year university. I told him that he was at the best school in LA for that purpose, and he could never do better. He and his comrades are the future of Pali, and they are fired up. After the impressive turnout at the Charter Renewal committee meeting, it’s clear that students will stay involved in their school and stand up for their rights. So administrators, take notice. We’re still watching and my friends will continue watching after I’m gone.

Administrators should rest easy, though, because those security guards are making sure the school’s not burning down.

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  • Hunter O., on 12/26/2008, said:

    This goes down as one of the weirdest things i have every heard about any school

  • Ryan, on 01/16/2009, said:

    "told him that he was at the best school in LA for that purpose"
    this is blatantly incorrect, I propose that the story be edited.

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