VIDEO: Security Monitor Richard Little Builds Relationships to Ensure a Safe School
Running Time: 4 min.
When staff members at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School want a visitor to grasp the impact of CARE for Kids, they send that person to see Richard Little. The Louisville native has spent 10 years as the school's security monitor, and when trainers came from the district in 2008 to launch the new program in social and emotional learning, he was moved to tears because he had not seen a school community come together to support children like this before.
"It still gives me the chills," says Little, who worked previously in nearby high schools. "Working with children for 20 years, it's a totally new game. A totally different world."
What hit him the day the program got off the ground was the depth of care -- deliberate, coordinated care -- he saw his colleagues showing for students. They were reading child-development books and passionately discussing the best ways to build relationships with kids. "They even gave me books to read," he says.
Little is also an associate pastor at New Missionary Baptist Church in Louisville's West End. Looking back on his own school experience, he believes the compassionate, constructive strategies of CARE for Kids -- what he calls "technology" -- are a major advance over the methods of the past. "The technology today is so much better than when we used to put our hands up to the wall and they'd take the paddle to us like they were trying to hit a home run," he says.
Little used to spend half his day in the kindergarten and first-grade classrooms, removing unruly children and taking them to the office or another room to deescalate conflicts. Now, because of the supportive relationships that school staff members have cultivated with students, the children respond positively when a teacher intervenes. "Now we have teachers that these kids can depend on to help them," he says. "So now instead of that level of stress and frustration being way up high, it's way down low."
Mindful of the saying that, "It takes a village to raise a child," Little says, "This is the village. It's happening here, because these people are serious."
Grace Rubenstein is a senior producer at Edutopia.
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