Connie Pollitt thinks of the kids at North Surrey Secondary as her own.
“I’m constantly working hard to build relationships and trust with my kids through positive interactions,” she says. “It’s all about engaging with them, finding out who they are and what they’re like.”
Pollitt is one of 27 safe school liaisons (SSLs) who provide direct security to students and staff in the district’s 19 secondary schools. Patrolling the grounds and the hallways, she identifies any real or potential safety concerns and responds to any emergent issues.
Key to her position is the rapport she’s developed with students, which Pollitt uses to help ensure students stay safe. She even volunteers as an assistant basketball coach and is a school swim club sponsor.
“I try to get involved as much as I can because that’s what I say to my kids: get involved.”
The job of an SSL is to use skillful prevention techniques to address inappropriate student behaviour. SSLs can also intervene in a conflict, but only where it’s safe to do so.
In her 13 years on the job, Pollitt has only intervened once in a physical confrontation between students, and her presence quickly defused the situation without anyone getting hurt.
More often, Pollitt finds herself having positive conversations with students and sharing in their joys and successes as they tell her about a high test score, an interesting project they’re working on or a challenge they overcame.
“I’ve loved my job from the beginning. The kids are really good to me.”