It is a rainy Thursday afternoon. Security officer Jason Giles is talking to a student about his grades. “We gotta get those grades up,” he says. The student then promises Giles he will. “Don’t promise to me, promise to yourself,” Giles says.
37-year-old security officer Jason Giles is a recent addition to Franklin, having only worked for the school for a few months. Originally from Philadelphia, Giles used to work as college security for schools in rough neighborhoods. The line of work Giles was in frequently went hand in hand with the local police, and he also used to perform walking escorts for students to personally guarantee their safety. With the familiar faces of security guards Shaw and Domingo gone at the beginning of the school year, many students were likely unsure what to expect from the new group of campus monitors. However, many of their fears were put to rest upon interacting with Giles and being put at ease by his open friendliness, as well as his life experience and sage advice. Giles seems to know almost every student who walks by him. Many students walk up and talk with him to discuss events, grades, and how they are utilizing his advice to better themselves. “I have two daughters, 16 and 17, so I know what teenagers are like. I treat students like how I would treat my daughters, with a certain amount of respect,” Giles says. According to Giles, to get to know students better, he simply makes himself available to them. In addition, he also asks about their plan to improve their grades if they are low so they can pass and eventually get their diploma. Students do not always interact with their counselors a lot, and Giles interacts with students every day, so to many students he takes on the role as their personal counselor of sorts. “I believe that different students should need a different space, or more support than others. I go to students and [say] ‘let’s see what we can do,’ and then we work it out from there.” Giles also proclaimed that he did not have a problem with anyone, and that he has positive interactions with every type of student. “This job is the only job I have looked forward to; I like to bring positive energy to Franklin because I feel like the kids really care,” he says. Giles stated that overall, student interaction is key when dealing with a crisis, as Franklin security guards do not carry weapons and are dispatched to deal with students in a verbal, nonviolent manner. If an active shooter situation arose, security would likely try to talk the shooter out of proceeding with the shooting. A physical option is the last resort. In his off time, Giles enjoys playing basketball, writing poetry, and making music. Giles is also a big fan of comedy, and believes that it is healthy to laugh regularly. He also frequently does a podcast called “Positive Vibes for the Atmosphere” on his Instagram. Fellow security guard Alex Karpstein proclaimed his respect for Giles’ positive attitude and personality, and commended his life experience and methods. “We all have different styles. Me, Giles, and Holly [another Franklin security guard] all have methods that may work better on one group of students then another, and on a certain day better than another day. I think our different styles of how we do our job makes us a better operating team. They all work well, although some may work better situationally. [Giles] is good at opening up people’s minds, same with [Stokes], and I enjoy working with them,” stated Karpstein. The amount of passion Giles shows for his job coupled with his positive attitude, is a lesson that many could learn from him. Students flock to Giles, and many display more self confidence and positivity after interacting with him. Truly, the man does not get enough credit for how much help and time he gives students in overcoming problems and becoming a better person. It is clear that everyone could learn a thing or two from Jason Giles.