Security. They do everything from break up fights to rescue ducks out of court yards. They get called every name in the book, swung at, and thanked; it just depends on the person who they are dealing with.
Security is a walk in the park sometimes. lead security guard Ryan Lancaster said, “Security at West Ottawa is an entry level position which means basically all you need is a high school diploma to be hired. The position I have is lead security because I have been working for the district for a while now. As far as it goes for hiring we try to hire people with the military background, we have a lot of ex-firman, ex-police. Right now we have Mr. Paquette and he has just retired from the coast guard.” Security guard Sharon. DeWit said, “You have to have a thick backbone for this job because you get called every name in the book, and you just gotta let it roll. You know I enjoy it, if I didn’t I would quit, and I just figure the kids that get upset are the ones who get caught doing something. So I just let it go by.”
That’s just the basics though. What do the security guards have to deal with on a crazy basis? “When I first started out, West Ottawa had a problem with gangs so there was a lot to break up, but we have done a very good job of cleaning the gang problem out but now most of the time when there are fights it’s between a boy and a girl. You know ’Hey! You looked at my girlfriend, or whistled at her what’s wrong with you?’ or just kids with anger issues. Every year there is a duck that lays eggs in the courtyard at the North building and we have to go and save the baby ducks and let them outside of the courtyard because if we don’t they will die from going down the drain. Also two years ago there was an owl just sitting in the grass and we thought something was wrong with it so we just called animal control and we just do little things like that a lot.”
DeWit has been working for security for 11 years now and has had quite the heartbreaking experience.“Quite a few years ago there was a young lady that would call me names, you know the ‘b’ word and stuff like that and I told her that I wasn’t here to be against her I was here to help her, and she just kept it up and kept it up. Well, I ended up last year going through burger king, and all of the sudden a girl goes ‘Mrs. DeWit that you? I knew it was you from your voice.’ this girl thanked me because at the time she didn’t realize what I was trying to do. And after she left school it clicked, ‘but you are here to help the students and not go against them.’”
DeWit and Lancaster aren’t the only security guards that appreciate all of West Ottawa. There are plenty more where that came from and they are here to help and not harm so have respect.