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Keeping Our Campus Safe – Empty or Full

By Dunn Neugebauer, Sports Information Director

Deputy Chief Wes Green came to Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in 1990 part time; he became full time in January of 2007. When directing our traffic and walking his post, he’s seen plenty. Below – in his words as fast as I could jot them down – are some of his tongue-in-cheek thoughts while on the beat on an empty campus: 

“I’ve seen every graduation; when I started in 1990, there wasn’t one, there wasn’t even a junior or senior class. This year, without a graduation coming up, this is different for me as it is for students and their families. I will miss seeing the grads and their families all smile as they pile onto campus, some even creating parking spaces.

Now with the place so quiet, I’m noticing how many squirrels we have on campus (laughter) and, I know with people getting closed in at home they want to walk their dogs, but I can’t let this campus become a dog park. The rules stay the same.

I think about the activity in Riley, I usually walk down the halls playing hopscotch to avoid all the feet from the kids sitting in the halls. I’m used to high-fiving them after reading a sports article and congratulating them on how well they did. It’s so odd that I haven’t picked up a lost laptop or cell phone since school has been closed. 

And going through the Primary School, I always enjoy and enjoyed being the Mystery Reader. The little ones always wanted to touch everything on my belt. What is this? What is that? Can I play with that? 

Now, it’s strange that it’s empty all over campus. 

I remember every now and then I’d play some Four Square with the Lower School students. I remember when there was a house across the street that is now the South Campus parking lot. The house used to be a hangout for some of the seniors. I used to be glad when I’d get the call if they got out of control, because I knew it was some of our kids. Also, walking into Senior Commons, maybe some of them didn’t want to see my face. Or waiting to see what the senior prank would be. Now, no one is in there that I can look at sideways. (laughter)

I have watched the school grow and seen the changes across campus from the old Mac Gym, the Fine Arts Building, Fred Rowan Middle School, now the STEM Building and the soon to be Humanities Building.

I think now about how when it’s lunch time - kids are everywhere, some yelling ‘Hi Chief Green!’ Currently there is no lunch, just no activity at all. But I know we will get back to that when it is safe to do so.

Even at carpool, I used to worry about the time change, and how we’d be out there in the dark. Or getting our rain suits on because it’s pouring down rain. It’s so different now. I miss talking to the parents during carpool, during events, athletic games.  

I remember the way it used to be; I know how it is for now. I remember how alumni come back years later either to say hello or to thank us for pointing them in the right direction.

And finally, before I go make my rounds, I want to thank all the parents for their support during the school year, especially the senior parents who always invited me to every special upperclassman luncheon.”

In closing, if Chief Green were paid by the lap, he could perhaps finance a small country. They say, “if walls could talk,” – here it’s Chief Green who protects and is those walls. Once a teacher/coach was told that he spent almost as much time on campus as Chief Green. “Wow,” the teacher said, “I WILL take that as a compliment.”

As well he should. Here’s a special Golden Bear Thanks to Chief Green for every carpool, every performance, every football game, every basketball game, every spot-check in the hallways, every “look-see” to make sure we’re okay, every fire drill, hard lock down, bad weather drills, you get the picture. Chief can’t wait for our next Bear Walk with students, parents, and coaches.

We are now all locked in, and we are safe. Even when at school, we are safe as well. Thanks for that, and then some. And finally, if you ever want to go on a stroll down hallway lane, our man with the smiling face can tell you some stories.   

If Major Wes Green isn’t seen in the hallways, there’s a good chance Officer Jeffrey Wright will be. At HIES for two years and with 30-plus years in law enforcement, the main portion of Officer Wright’s job also includes traffic control and overall security – which encompasses access control system, security cameras, fire alarm system, alarm system, and patrolling the campus.

HIES also has an inhouse security guard – Reginald Turner – who works Monday through Friday during the day, as well as an inhouse security guard – Sammie Franklin – who comes on week nights.

Officer Wright commented on what it’s been like over the unscheduled coronavirus break.

“With no one else on campus, it’s kind of spooky and lonely. We miss the students, faculty, and staff. Also, since it’s so quiet it’s easy to hear even the smallest of sounds. I often hear a lot of creaking noises in Riley and am starting to believe it might be haunted. LOL.

Anyway, with all this free time, I recently had a funny thought about learning to play an instrument in the Fine Arts Building, performing science experiments in STEM, and creating or painting art in Riley. It would be like keeping these items on campus warmed up for when the students get back.”

Great to know. Once back – between Major Green’s tales of past and present and Officer Wright’s newly learned skills – we will be not only protected – but will be rubbing shoulders with some multi-talented law enforcement officers as well.