Rhonda Gipson has been a friendly, familiar sight on campus for over a decade. To help Head-Royce students safely cross Lincoln Avenue, Gipson carries a bright red stop sign—pausing cars, greeting families, and actively enforcing our Big 10 driving rules that all families are familiar with.
But it’s not only cars she stops. During Gipson’s first year as a security guard, back in 2008, she once noticed red and blue swirling lights. It was the police, searching for robbers who’d broken into two neighborhood homes. Back on her Alida Street post, Gipson saw two men she’d never seen before and therefore knew didn’t live nearby. It’s Gipson’s job to recognize community members, to see and survey the School and its surroundings. Because she called 911, both men were apprehended. Every item they’d stolen was returned to the homeowners.
When asked for advice on how to deter break-ins, Gipson reminds us all to use common sense. "People leave items visible in their cars,” says Gipson. “iPads, Laptops, backpacks—you name it.” Keeping your valuables at home or out of sight goes a long way.
During school hours, security personnel assist with the drop-off and pick-up process and also help to check in all School visitors. Throughout the day and after hours they are busy patrolling the grounds and ensuring that gates and entrances are kept secure. All members of the Head-Royce Professional Community enter campus with their own key fobs. Issuing those keys, Gipson notes, is “an accurate, safe way to monitor who is on campus."
Head-Royce gladly welcomes neighbors to make use of certain facilities during non-school hours, including the tennis courts and athletics field. And despite this occasional open-door policy for special events, crime is infrequent. It’s thanks to our hard-working, knowledgeable security staff that break-ins are so rare.
During our interview, one teacher walked through the security gate smiling and singing, “Help me, Rhonda! Help, help me, Rhonda.”
We'd all be wise to remember the Beach Boys. Rhonda is here to help.