Meet Heights High's coordinator of safety and security
A conversation with Bryan Loretz, coordinator of safety and security at Cleveland Heights High School and for the CH-UH district:
The work: We patrol and monitor the building and property, diffuse escalating situations, connect to students to encourage their best behavior, mediate conflict between students, and provide security for athletic and other school events.
The team: There are 15 security monitors at Heights High who work during the school day and at evening events. All of the team members have the following certifications: Private Security Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy, first aid, automatic external defibrillator and C.P.R. They recently received certification in National Incident Management Systems and Incident Command Systems and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention.
You might not know: A very important part of our work is mediating disagreements between students. We often assign a mediation session to two or more students who are currently in a conflict situation or may be headed that way. In more than 95 percent of the circumstances, the situation is de-escalated and the students involved leave the session feeling that someone listened to them, and they often gain an understanding of the other person’s viewpoint. Kids don’t want to fight, but sometimes they feel they don’t have another option. Mediation is that other option. Michael Carter is our lead mediator and he has a gift for this work.
Strength of the team: We have a multi-pronged approach. We form relationships with students so they are comfortable with us, but when we need to be tough and enforce the rules that support a learning-focused environment, we do that. Our team works very well together, we know that we are all working for the same goal—to help kids get an education.
Favorite moments: Our team works the commencement ceremony, and every year after the event I always hear stories of pride and excitement from our team. They often get teary-eyed when talking about the students who cross the stage as seniors but who were once immature freshmen who needed prodding and mediation and sometimes punishment just four years before. But there they are, smiling and wearing a graduation robe, accepting a diploma. Those are great moments.
Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.