School security officer shortage leads to concerns in Detroit Public Schools Community District

Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 17:40:45-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — We’ve been talking about how a labor shortage is impacting our schools. Now teachers and staff in the Detroit Public Schools Community District say the situation is putting them at risk.

The reason? There is a shortage of school security officers in some buildings.

At Mumford High School staff and students say there has been no security officer on duty. Students shared video that was recent recorded at the school of a fight. You can see multiple staff trying to break it up. There is no security available to help.

Parents say teachers and administrators make students feel safe, but they are still concerned.

“It has been going okay, so far, but hearing that staff are getting injured now…” said Krisshrion Bradley, whose son described how a staff member got injured breaking up a fight.

“Being high school, young adults - they need a lot of supervision,” said Tonia Smith, a mom of two students at Mumford High.

“We definitely heard about the issue at Mumford, of course, the issue at East English Village, at Cody. Again it is city-wide,” said Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins, Detroit Federation of Teachers Executive Vice President.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers says multiple teachers or counselors have been injured breaking up fights this school year already. They want security in all schools.

“So we are looking out for our young people but in the process our members get hurt. Security has to be paramount at this time,” said Wilson-Lumpkins.

School district officials tell WXYZ that right now the Detroit Public Schools Community District has 45 openings for security officers that it is trying to fill.

School Board Member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo says she used to be a teacher, remembers how helpful security officers were, and is calling for the district to increase pay and benefits if needed to fill openings to protect staff and also students from gangs or criminals outside the schools.

“You have people in a community who are not so savory coming around and trying to recruit them to not be in school and o things that are not lawful. And so we want to make sure we protect them from that pressure that is in the community and protect the staff as well,” said Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, Detroit Public Schools Community District Board Member.

Gay-Dagnogo says she has been in contact with school administrators to see what progress is being made addressing this. She says the pay for security officers has been increased from $15 to $16 an hour. She says the district has had a hiring fair and interviewed candidates that it hopes will be able to help fill the vacancies.