Getting to Know PLD’s Security Ambassadors

Three of Dunbar's security ambassadors share their views on the importance of their job and their impact on the school community.

You see Carl, Antoinne, and Ricky every morning. They’re a fixture of school life, yet many students probably don’t even know their names.

Carl Beatty, Antoinne Priddy, and Ricky Kirby, alongside around a dozen others, serve as Dunbar’s security ambassadors. They play a critical role in ensuring the school’s safety, inspecting students’ backpacks and guiding them through the metal detectors to make sure that no weapons or drugs can enter the school building. 

Their work starts early.

Security ambassadors have to arrive at 7 a.m. in time to meet the MSTC students attending zero hour. And the job doesn’t stop after 8:25 a.m. Even during the interview for this story, they often had to pause to address the continuous stream of visitors coming through the front door. It can get hectic with beeping detectors, chatter and banging backpacks.

Combine that with the rush of students coming from vocational schools, and ambassadors have a full schedule.

“[I see] four or five hundred students every day, if not more,” said Kirby.

Even when there’s no one coming through the front doors, the ambassadors have to stay alert.

“Throughout the day, we keep our eyes on the parking lot, front and back,” Kirby said. They have to watch for anything different like strange cars coming in or strange people in the parking lot.

The security ambassadors are well-trained for this sort of work. Beatty noted that they had worked with a former police officer, Lonnie K. Greene, who taught them how to identify narcotics, weapons, and other things.

Fayette County has a contract with Greene’s Investigations, LLC owned by Mr. Greene, to provide metal detectors and “safety ambassador” personnel to schools. According to job search site, Indeed.com, the part-time job description stated “screening for school security and hall monitoring for Fayette County Public Schools,” and it pays $10 an hour. They are no longer taking applications at this time.

The ambassadors who were hired for this position say that the job isn’t always easy. For one thing, there’s the weather. Although the ambassadors work inside, it can get cold.

“When there’s somebody standing in the door, there’s cold weather coming in,” Beatty said. “That’s the worst part.”

Ambassadors also don’t always receive the treatment they deserve.

“I think the only really bad thing is some people, depending on who comes through, just don’t respect authority,” Priddy said. “Everybody’s here to do a job. We don’t want to make it harder on [students] than it is.”

Still, there are plenty of others who the ambassadors say they enjoy working with on a daily basis.

“My favorite part is the ones that actually do respect you and who have fun, and ultimately just are friendly and nice,” Priddy said.

The ambassadors also say that they enjoy working with each other. They are often joking and laughing with each other in the mornings. Beatty describes the work environment as “like family.”

“We look out for each other, and check on people when they’re missing,” Priddy said.

They say that they take pride in their work.

“You’d be surprised, but it’s definitely [important],” Priddy said. “It would probably change the whole aspect of how school life is if we weren’t here.”

Kirby agreed. “The part I like the most is knowing that I’m making a difference in the life of some school kids and helping to keep them safe,” he said.“They don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff. To me, that’s the best part of the job.”