Eyes on East Heroes: Robert Perales

Robert Perales elaborates on what it's like to be campus security

Robert Perales

Photo by Lifetouch Photographer

Robert Perales

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This week’s East Hero is Robert Perales, a member of East’s campus security staff. He’s been working in a security role at East since August of 2006, but has been working with kids in some way or another since 1993. Before he was at East, Mr. Perales was working in the Las Vegas school district doing similar things. “[I] ended up in the superintendent’s office working with the police chief and creating other positions and stuff, so I was there for about six years,” he explained.
After that, Mr. Perales ended up in Pueblo, Colorado working at the Colorado Youth Conservation Corps. “We kind of do basic training type style boot camp, but we also have teachers and counselors that are there to help those who may want to get their GED and did a lot of military type leadership training. So we took students that wouldn’t typically be in a leadership role, and put them in leadership roles so they can get that experience,” Perales explained.
As part of the security personnel, Mr. Perales’s daily routine isn’t so much a routine, as it is ‘take it as it comes.’ Towards the beginning of the year, a lot of his job was making sure all of the emergency protocols were updated, including the new portables, and the upcoming drills, but there’s a range of tasks for campus security. “We try to, all of us, to have certain positions,” he says. “The team does a lot of the calls, so they’re more the runners. So if there’s issues going on, they’re the ones that are jumping on and making sure that they take care of that. Mr. Jiles does a lot of the parking, a lot of writing tickets. Abby and Ryan kind of handle the ISP and SPED (special education) area so they can work with the special needs students more. Tony’s our firefighter person, so for a lot of the EMT and emergency stuff, Tony is our first person to respond.”
As with any job, working security has its ups and downs. “I would say [my favorite part is] lunch, but no. We don’t get it,” he jokes. “I think a lot of it is making connections with students. There’s times where I’ve had a student that never spoke to me, you know, but something just clicked in them and we just started talking, and we made a really good connection. A lot of it was over food. But, you know, it works.”
The other side of it, the stressful side, isn’t usually seen. “There’s situations where it gets to us, but we sometimes just release, let it go. We work with students that are having issues and a lot of times we have to take a step back,” Perales says. “We know that he or she’s going to have issues. They’re going to have things going on that we may not know about, so we have to be open minded and try to take a step back. And we kind of cover for each other – we can just relieve each other and then we can try to work through it.”
In the end though, for Mr. Perales, it’s about being there for the students. “It’s knowing that we are making a difference and not just security guards,” he says. “We’re security, making sure that the building’s safe. We’re counselors because we get kids that come in and talk to us and want to talk to us about these issues they have, whether it’s here or home. Sometimes we’re like administration because we have to make the decision on certain things. It’s a broad range of things for us and it’s really about making connections with the kids.”