LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- School safety is on the minds of parents, teachers and students. And WDRB is getting an inside look at security guards inside Jefferson County Public Schools.
At Waggener High School, there are three security monitors and one SRO. Wearing a security shirt, Gerald Harrison keeps watch at the high school, something he has been doing for 14 years.
He spends his days locking and checking doors and making sure all students roaming the halls have hall passes.
"There's some pretty big kids here, sometimes we've had some rumble-tumbles," Harrison said. "The fun part for me is to find out what it is what motivates them, what it is that pushes their button to make them be good, to de-escalate, make them excel in something."
Inside the security center, he knows everyone's moves -- even if they don't realize it.
"They see violence on TV, and they bring it here," Harrison said. "I can understand why parents are concerned, and they're concerned about school safety."
Harrison showed WDRB the computer he uses to monitor security. He says kids know there are cameras all over the school.
He's also the track coach and says his role also includes being a mentor or even a parent to a child.
JCPS has more than 150 in school security monitors or guards at more than 80 school mostly middle and high schools, and a smaller number of elementary schools.
"Their function is to be present," Assistant Superintendent Katy Zeitz said. "They're also the typical first responders to classrooms when teachers call for support.
"Our in-school monitors are not armed. They're classified staff members and again we encourage them to do things that are proactive in nature, that's why we do and are spending more time making sure there is consistent training."
The district is spending more than $5.5 million on salaries for security monitors each year. Harrison says it's a tough job and can be dangerous, as he helps break up fights. He says, "We might have one or two a week, sometimes we'll go two or three weeks and won't have any, then sometimes we'll have three in a day."
Only 27 JCPS schools have school resource officers. At Waggener, the SRO works closely with the three security guards.
"He knows the kids," Harrison said. "He knows the hot spots. He knows the exits, and he knows the streets and sometimes the streets bleed over into here.
"Our security guards and our police officer here, we get to know our kids. They let us know 75-80 percent of the time where there is something that's going to go down."
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