An Inside Look on Charter’s Security

Samantha Miragliotta, Features Editor

    Each morning dogs of charter students await treats from SRO officer Mike barking and wagging their tails when they see him. PPCHS SRO Officer Mike gives treats to dogs in the morning carline as a friendly way to interact with students and get to know them personally. The SRO’s and security staff at Pembroke Pines Charter High School go above and beyond their daily duties and responsibilities to provide students a safe, secure, and supportive environment for all students.

   SRO stands for School Resource Officer, which is primarily composed of our security guards, police officers, and special security officers as well. They are willing to risk their lives to serve and protect students, teachers, staff, and everyone on campus. These individuals are part of Charters hidden gems and can even be considered some of our most unnoticed heroes that are always working behind the scenes. 

   Most students haven’t had the opportunity to learn more about the people who protect them everyday, but there is more to school safety than most students realize. There are four campus monitors, one security specialist, and two school resource officers also known as SROs. Junior Reef Ostendorf expresses that the, “SRO’s pay attention to details and see things that we don’t see while students we are either talking with friends or walking to class. They are always there for us to protect and keep us safe.” They are constantly on high alert, watching different surroundings, looking to see if there are any potential threats, and looking to see if there is anything that might be out of place. 

   Additionally, they also ensure that every student is recognizable on campus with their school id and school uniform. With this new school year happening in person while we are still in the Covid-19 pandemic, they also have been enforcing the importance of social distancing and wearing a mask. SRO’s implement and enforce the rules placed by the Broward County School District guidelines. Here’s an inside look at Charter security members:

Campus Monitor Felix Rodriguez

   Felix Rodriguez is one of the most dedicated security guards at Charter, and his passion for safety and the students at Charter is recognizable. Felix enjoys patrolling the halls of Charter while being a security guard and greeting students along their way. Felix has worked at charter now for about five years. Before working for Pines Charter, Felix was a security guard at Clear Water. Not only is Felix the security guard but he has been the soccer coach for our middle and high school boys teams for two years now.  He also played soccer in his home country of Japan and came to Florida for new opportunities. One fun fact is that Felix’s real name is Felix Afujimoto but changed it to Rodriguez after coming to America.  

SRO Miguel “Mike” Martinez 

   A typical day for Officer Mike is arriving at both the middle and high school at around 8:00 am. He helps with arrival and drop off for the students and makes it a point to greet everyone as they come in. Officer Mike makes sure the students are comfortable and that he’s approachable. He likes to find good experiences, and he says one of his favorites has been working at Charter since 2019. He also has experience being a police officer at Hallandale Beach. Originally, he wanted to be a marine patrol officer, but he enjoyed being a certified police officer enough that he realized it was the right career for him. 

   Officer Mike has always enjoyed the general nature of police work, and being an SRO fits him perfectly. Officer Mike believes strongly in safety and the best for the students at Charter, he also has two kids of his own that go to Charter. Officer Buckham works alongside officer Mike and the two of them ensure that Charter is remaining a safe environment for all students so they can focus on their studies. 

Security Specialist Jeff Folsom

   Security Specialist Jeff is hardworking and is very dedicated to his job. Working as a security specialist, according to Jeff, is something that is different every day, with a variety of tasks and challenges. Because the administration asks him to cover issues and problems that arise at PPCHS, each day is usually different. In the mornings he stands by and guards the gates while students are coming into school in the morning. Some of his responsibilities include making sure that all students arriving on campus are dressed appropriately, have identification, and are wearing their pandemic masks correctly.

  He is a retired police officer with three years of experience at charter. A successful and safe year are two of Jeff’s goals for the year. One thing that goes unnoticed about Jeff’s line of work is that he does more than just his job description and goes on to assist his coworkers in various departments. Many people believe he watches the gates all day, but he has small jobs as well as being a security specialist. These small jobs include going to assist either students, teachers, faculty, or even his co-workers if there are any issues on campus. 

Campus Monitor Sandra Scocco

    For Sandra, a usual day of enforcing safety entails traveling around in the school golf cart and patrolling around the perimeter checking for outsiders. She prevents potentially harmful individuals from entering on campus. Most of the time, she encounters people who are unaware of what PPCHS is and asks if they require assistance or directions to the library. Sandra makes sure the school is safe, and if she notices any strange cars approaching, she drives up to them and inquires about their business on campus.

    Also, she makes her rounds in the parking lot, checking that the cars of the students are safe. Sandra Scocco has worked as a campus monitor for PPCHS for 19 years. She used to be a teacher in Miami, but decided over time that she wanted to try something different and chose to start working at PPCHS as a campus monitor in the year 2003 when it first opened. 

    When asked about some of her hopes for this year, she says that the most important thingto her is to have a safe year. She enforces the school’s rules and standards to all students. She is the sole campus monitor who patrols and secures the school’s perimeter; everyone else works inside. Scocco takes her job extremely seriously and is very passionate about her job. She ensures that everyone in school is protected, that the perimeter is clear, and that no strangers enter the campus.