- Georgia Murphy
Meet the Walls Security Guards
School Without Walls currently employs five security guards to maintain a safe school environment. You may recognize a few of their faces from the chaos of the metal detectors or passing them in the halls.
DCPS assigns officers to schools in a largely random process. Officer Myron Bell, who has worked at SWW for over ten years, said, “Personally, I’m glad I was put here. It’s a good school.” Officer Bell added that he enjoyed how drama-free Walls is. “I don’t have to take my work home,” he said.
Many Walls security guards have had a wide variety of assignments, including elementary, middle, and high schools. Officer Dorothy Perry has worked at almost every public school in D.C., and she said Walls “is one of the best schools that I’ve worked at.”
Officer Yvette Curtis, who has worked at SWW for over ten years, said she appreciates that Walls students rarely require disciplinary action. She highlighted “the students, how respectful they are, how wonderful they are, they’re always good students. They have ambition and I love it.”
While the security guards said they have generally positive relationships with SWW students, they still have occasional grievances. Officer Bell noted he does not appreciate “any kid that’s disrespectful,” though he assured that such behavior is uncommon.
Many of the security guards have lived in D.C. their whole lives, and many even attended DCPS schools. For example, Officer Perry went to Francis L. Cardozo High School.
Officer Bell, a graduate of Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Maryland, noted the contrast between his high school experience to that of Walls. “It was different from here in so many ways,” he said. “For me, having the fields, having the support, the whole city coming to your games and supporting the school… that whole camaraderie was different. Unfortunately, [Walls is] in the city so everybody’s all over the place.”
As a former high school football player, Officer Bell hopes to give students the joy of playing a team sport. He currently coaches the girl’s flag football team. “I’m passionate about coaching, especially football,” he said. “I think the girls have a great time. They went out there and it’s been great ever since.”
“My favorite part of working here is just seeing the students come in and greeting them in the morning,” Officer Curtis said. “They actually make my day.”