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Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Director of Safety David Young Leaves for New Position

Director of Safety David Young
Director of Safety David Young

Director of Safety, David Young, announced his departure from Niles West on Monday, Aug. 28, just two weeks into the school year. Young’s last day was Friday, Sept. 1. He is continuing his career at Northwestern University as their Director of Behavioral Consultation Programs.

While taking more of an administrative role at the university, some of the things Young would be working with include emergency management, access control systems, thread assessments and mental health hybrid law enforcement teams to respond to different crises around the college.

I did some work for this school that I’m going to, Northwestern, years ago while I was working for the FBI. So I consulted on some cases, and they have a new position that they’ve created and because of the relationship we have, they asked if I was interested. It’s a position that a lot of universities are starting to have, so it’s really an interesting offer and a lot of the work is going to be sort of parallel to the work that I was doing for the FBI,” Young said. 

Many staff members Young worked with appreciated the work he did for Niles West and are sad to see him go.

“I thought that Dave was very thorough. He really thrived as it relates to making our school safe. He partnered with me a lot to make sure that not only did we have safe procedures but we had the highest technology to ensure that the students were secure and the staff were secure,” Principal Jeremy Christian said. 

When reflecting on his positive year at Niles West, Young strongly believes the people are what made his job so enjoyable.

“The nice thing is the people here, that’s what makes it bittersweet to leave. This past week has [been filled with] people stopping me in the hall and it’s been very nice. It’s the people who I’ll miss most,” Young said. 

Although Young was only Niles West’s Director of Safety for around a year, he is not the first person in his position to leave the role after only one school year, including our last Director of Safety, or Director of Security at the time, Philip Brown, who had Young’s position for the 2021-2022 school year only.

Young believes that the more urgent need for safety in schools and the upcoming pattern of education and safety becoming more intertwined have played a role in the staffing trend.

“Schools and educators have been put in this position now to think about security, in addition to education. And people in schools are educators, and that’s what they should focus on. Law enforcement people are security-minded people. Like situational aware people. So now, in the day and age we’re in, those positions have to merge. Educators have to start thinking about security and safety. Law enforcement people who come into this world have to think about what’s best for students and then faculty and staff. You sort of have these worlds that have collided, and now they have to support each other. And it’s a difficult role for both. It’s a role that is, I think it’s here for the foreseeable future. But it’s a difficult one,” Young said. 

Although most of the work of a Director of Safety is behind the scenes, the job comes with stress and immense flexibility. Some common day-to-day tasks Young and his team dealt with include taking care of the building, reporting issues within the building, monitoring the outside of the building, limiting access to doors, controlling parking or making sure students are attending class.

“We want to ideally, you know it’s a school we don’t want to make it like TSA at the airport where you have to turn around and you know, but you’re always balancing freedoms vs. security. We like to air on the side of security, but we also understand people want and need their freedoms. You have to be willing to just, whatever they need, you try to take on that role to an extent obviously. But it’s hard to really put into a nutshell because it can be so varied,” Young said. 

Principal Christian recognizes that the job is hard to balance, but ultimately believes it is an important role that is benefitting our school.

“With security, [it’s] making sure that the students are safe but also making sure that we are speaking nice to the students and having those positive relationships. Security shouldn’t just be barking at the kids but it should be a welcoming environment where we’re helping the students get to where they need to be,” Christian said. 

Christian and his team are currently seeking out a new Director of Safety. In the meantime, he and Superintendent Tom Moore are taking over Young’s role until a replacement is found. They are looking for someone who is experienced with both security and interacting with high school students and are looking to include teachers and students in the interview process.

Young’s advice to the new Director of Safety would be to emphasize flexibility.

“There is a chain of command here that should be followed. To some extent, you’ll ask people to do things and expect them to be done, but it’s a little more of a flexible environment and it’s not black and white in terms of, ‘this is what we have to do.’ We have to be flexible to accommodate the needs of the people who are here. These are the people who you’re serving so flexibility is key,” Young said. 

We wish Young the best of luck in his new position!

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