Keeping Campus Safe

Interview with Officer Fernandez
Original Art by Tasnim Sumaita
Original Art by Tasnim Sumaita

Every morning, as we enter the school, we are required to show our IDs. Some of us have them in hand rushing to get to class, others wear their ID around their neck like a badge of honor, while stragglers, like me, stand to the side digging through their backpack. We are all greeted by Officer Fernandez. 

Officer Fernandez has been working at CCNY for 9 years. Before coming to CCNY, she

worked at the Immigration and Customs offices in Florida helping migrants fill out the necessary

paperwork upon entering the United States. Now, she patrols Baskerville and checks our IDs — a simpler task one might think — but it bears a tremendous amount of responsibility. What follows is an excerpt from a conversation I had with Officer Fernandez that highlights how much she cares about her job, HSMSE students, and how lucky we are to have an officer like her.


What is the best thing about your job? 

“The safety. I can make sure that the people who come to the building have their ID, make sure they have their paperwork, make sure they belong here.” 


What is your favorite spot on Campus?

“ADH [Aaron Davis Hall]. I think they have 2-3 classes there. 135th and Convent. It’s a quiet place. Not too many students go over there.” 


What do you want students to understand about your job? 

“I want people to understand, especially students, that when we ask for ID or for any information, it’s for (their) safety. Like if I’m here and somebody comes in and does something to you guys, they are going to come to me and ask ‘what happened? Why didn’t you ask for ID? Why didn’t you question the person coming in?’ That’s what I want the students to understand. It’s not because I love to ask for ID, no, it’s for safety reasons. If something happens, it’s going to come to me because I am responsible for whatever happens here. It’s a big responsibility because there’s many students and staff I need to care about.” 


Is it overwhelming sometimes? 

“Sometimes, yeah. Sometimes when the students won’t show ID, when they act like I bother them, or say ‘why are you asking for ID? You know me.’ It’s too many students so I don’t know everybody.” 


How can we make your job easier? 

“For ID, I don’t have to ask for ID because they know. Instead of asking them everyday, all the time when they come in, when they see me, they show me their ID and then there will be no issue. Even though I have no issue, we have some students that give me a hard time to show their ID. Sometimes I have to call the Principal or call the assistant principal because they don’t show their ID.” 


Perhaps a misconception about being an officer is that it is a boring job, do you find that to be true? 

“For me, it’s not a boring job because I’m always busy. Maybe because I’m working with you guys in high school. I just try to help if I can. If I can, I help the staff.” 


Is there anything else we can do to help you help us? 

“First of all, I think that the Student Presidents can help with telling the students [about ID’s]. It’s not everybody but I have 6 or 7 students that are giving me a very hard time and it’s a safety issue. I would be more than happy to have somebody to help me with that.”


Do you feel part of our community at MSE? Do you generally feel respected on campus? 

“Yes. I feel generally respected. I feel a part of the school, too. I feel a part of the community.” 



Next time you walk into our building, remember that showing ID isn’t some meaningless obligation. Officer Fernandez is responsible for the safety of nearly 500 students, all of our teachers, administration, and anyone who walks through the front door. Without recognizing the breadth of her responsibility, we are taking our safety and her job for granted. So when you’re rushing to get to class, slow down, smile, and say ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon.’ After all, we have our officers to thank for keeping HSMSE a safe place. Showing a little kindness is the least we can do. 

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