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School police officer from George Washington High School dies on duty

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 2, 2014 04:44 PM

A 50-year-old school police officer at George Washington High School died Monday after he took ill at the school, according to District officials.

Daryl Giles, a 19-year veteran, was found unresponsive in a staff bathroom, said District spokesman Fernando Gallard.

"It's a sad thing," said Gallard. "We are saddened and shocked; we lost a member of our family."

Earlier in the day, there had been a fight in the school that resulted in the arrest of three students. Gallard could not say for sure whether Giles was among those who responded to the incident and whether that had anything to do with what happened. 

"I cannot say whether there was any connection with a fight in the morning," Gallard said. "I cannot confirm whether he was one of the officers who responded to that fight. But it is very likely that he was."

News reports say that he was involved in breaking up the fight and told a fellow officer that he was suffering from chest pains.

Washington, with more than 1,500 students, has a full-time nurse, who was in the building at the time. The nurse attended to him when he was found and he was transported to Holy Redeemer Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"He was described by everyone as someone beloved by students and staff alike," Gallard said. He said several distraught school police officers were sent home early.

Gallard said that there will be counselors at the school tomorrow for students and staff and that District personnel are also helping Giles' family.

Two students this year have died after falling ill in schools that did not have a nurse on duty at the time. The incidents stoked outrage at the District's budget problems and severe nurse cutbacks over the past two years.

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Comments (29)

Submitted by JMH (not verified) on June 2, 2014 9:42 pm
May this man rest in peace...God Bless his family and loved ones. He had a tough job and performed his duties admirably. God speed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2014 8:55 am
Yes. May he rest in peace. He had a very challenging job.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 2, 2014 11:44 pm
The fight might not have broken out if there were more hall aids and counselor's. These positions have been cut across the district and these adults would often counsel students in the hall and intercede before a fight breaks out. A 3rd trimester pregnant student was hit in the stomach during that fight while she was passing by. She was rushed to the hospital amid rumors that her water had broke. Teachers in that school lock their doors because students free roam the hall and disrupt classes. There are not enough non-teaching staff to clear the halls so it is inevitable that fights will occur and grow in size before they can be broken up. Now the SRC, under worst budget conditions than last year, is talking about cutting more staff and raising class size from 33 to 41, larger than most classrooms can hold.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2014 8:28 am
I agree that if there were more hall aids and monitors, this fight could have been prevented. However, as a 5 year public school teacher and non-Philadelphia native, I would say that the issue is in the streets and the community. If only positivity and peace were promoted, perhaps this wouldn't be such an aggressive, harsh, and rough city. There is far too much negative reinforcement. Every time I turn on the news all I hear are horrible things. Just a few weeks ago, AT GWHS, the all-city middle school concert and string bands had their annual music festival. No where on the internet, on any local news channels OR on the school district website was this advertised. I only knew about it because a few of my students were performing. Where is the positive reinforcement? Why can't we make our citizens proud and talk about some of the wonderful things that happen in this great city instead of glamorizing all of the horrific things that go on? While communicating this news, it is important to also shed light on some of the good. Help lift Philadelphia. -Anonymous BTW, I am a 28 year old Latina originally from Jersey City, NJ (inner city environment). I have worked in Kensington Culinary, Clemente, and taught at an alternative/transition HS but now teach at a perfectly functioning amazing public school.
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on June 3, 2014 10:39 am
Unfortunately the disorder in the schools makes for a very stressful environment for the people trying to keep order. Facing down a crowd of fighting students is not easy and took its toll on this poor man's heart. In a more secure environment this may not have happened. But that takes money and more personal something the SRC is not able or willing to provide.
Submitted by sparky (not verified) on June 3, 2014 11:22 am
The school district starting to get rid of NTAs years ago, before the crisis we are in now. Could someone comment on this--why the district got rid of NTAs, how (if) they were replaced, etc. I can't help but think that these kinds of situations would not be as common with full-time people in the halls, people who knew the kids and could talk to them.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 3, 2014 1:43 pm
Back before we ever had School Police Officers we had Non Teaching Assistants and Noontime aides. They monitored halls and lunchrooms and assisted Deans, Department Heads, Coordinators, and the principals. They helped any way they could and many of them were excellent at mentoring students and finding out what was "going down" at school and in the neighborhoods. Some were integral in keeping the school safe and orderly. SPO's came into the system more than a decade ago. They were empowered to arrest students and act as liaisons between the City police and the school. Then the NTA's started getting cut year by year. Then Vallas began to screw the NTA's and started to outsource their jobs. The people brought in to replace them were a "Joke" and that is putting it kindly. I do not know how many NTA's remain today. NTA's and now SPO's are integral in keeping schools safe, orderly and functioning properly. They get to know kids and often find out what is happening before anyone else. They often are invaluable. I was AP at Furness when Vallas closed Audenreid for violence and sent us half of their students. If I didn't have such a Great team of NTA's, SPO's and Noontime Aides, I would never had been able to succeed. They worked together and knew the kids well. The kids more often than not, confided in them. There was never anything which happened at Furness, on the way to and from school, in the neighborhoods at night and on the weekends, or on South Street, which we did not know about and find everything out about. It was pretty much the same when I was at Mastbaum. NTA's, SPO's and Noontime Aides are essential to well functioning urban schools. My heart goes out to Daryl Giles, his family, and the Washington school community. I know how much stress there is breaking up fights without enough adults to help out because I have done it time and time again. It makes your heartbeat rise extremely fast and makes your hands shake. Unless you have done it, you cannot imagine what it is like. It is another sad and disturbing event. Daryl Giles gave up his life in service of his school -- he is a Hero.
Submitted by Brad (not verified) on June 3, 2014 1:39 pm
For the record Rich, School Police Officers have been around for about 40 years
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 3, 2014 2:54 pm
You are right there were a few as far back as 40 years. The record is corrected. Two heads are better than one.They did not become prevalent though until more than a decade ago, maybe closer to two decades. Their legal authority was increased to make arrests just like City police officers, and there were many more hired when we began to search kids entering schools.That happened under Vallas near the beginning of his administration back around 2002. Prior to then, the number of NTA's far outnumbered the number of SPO's. One of the earliest I remember is Michael Jackson back at Uni in the early 90's and maybe even a while before. When I see him at SRC meetings we joke about our experiences at Uni. He saved the day many a time. Maybe Maceo Robinson prior to him. But no matter how we cut it, SPO's and NTA's are integral parts of our schools, and like Bartram, our schools can not function well without them. Hell, if I were the Supe, I'd give them a raise.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2014 2:53 pm
Your memory of the past is suspect. The reality was that the high schools in the District that aren't special admit have been violent and dangerous for years, even the years you worked there. Your insistence on whitewashing history is a second cousin to dishonesty.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2014 2:12 pm
And your point is? It's all a matter of degree. Yes, there was violence but it was largely contained with the help of support staff. Or is your snark just for a political agenda?
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 3, 2014 3:29 pm
Whitewashing history? That's a first. Violence, fighting and inappropriate behavior have always been an issue in schools even when I walked into the district in1975 at University City H.S.. Even special admit schools have some of the same issues. What matters is how the staff deals with those issues. Those which succeed are those who "deal with the issues" in a positive, pro-acive manner. You need not only NTA's and SPO's, but counselors, school nurses, special ed teachers, Deans and AP's, etc. Anti-violence and emotional health programs should be part and parcel of what we do. Education is and always will be a TEAM sport.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2014 12:55 pm
I am a teacher in a public school where NTA's were cut. I suppose the idea was to reduce staff costs to the minimum keeping just teachers with maximum class size and a couple administrators (principal/asst-principal). We also lost secretaries, counselors, additional assistant principals, and our bookkeeping/shipping/receiving clerks. In the past, the NTA's were like friends to the students; they would talk to them about how to properly handle interpersonal relations. Often they would walk the hall with one or two just to help a student work things out then deliver them late to class (excused) in calm mood ready to learn. Without the NTA's, I have seen increases in the number of students who enter class agitated or ready to cry. Sometime I send them outside my door with a friend or speak to them myself If I can. As a teacher, I do not have the same relationship with the students as the NTA did. It is a challenge.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on June 3, 2014 3:41 pm
So it sounds like we need to reduce per employee costs at the district in order to hire some people back.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2014 4:00 pm
By "reduce per employee cost", I assume you are talking about teacher salary/benefits, an issue in the current SRC/PFT negotiations. Finding qualified low cost people is a real challenge and not the entire solution. Buying out senior teachers can work, replacing them with new low cost teachers; but new teachers need to be mentored or they will quit working for the city as I have seen many do after just a few years. As it is, teaching is one of the lowest paid positions that require a college degree. Even senior, higher paid teachers are paid low compared to a career path in industry for a college educated person. Many teachers have paid their own Masters and PHD's to earn higher pay scales that are still much lower than similarly educated industrial workers. Better funding is required to fix these schools not lower cost. We need to reach out to corporate and government sources. Our political representatives need to get on the ball or our schools will become the "Walmart" of the educational system.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on June 3, 2014 4:29 pm
Where do you get your facts? Teaching is not one of the lowest paid fields for college graduates. In fact, teachers are number two on the list of professions to become millionaires. All on the taxpayers' dime. Education is the easiest college major: That attracts students with the lowest SAT scores:
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2014 6:48 pm
Maybe for a full professor at an elite school, certainly not becoming a millionaire as a 60k/year public school teacher.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 4, 2014 11:42 am
Re: "In fact, teachers are number two on the list of professions to become millionaires." Umm .. did you bother to read the article? "What gives these occupations (mangers and educators) their relatively large slice is that many are living in dual-income households". The authors go on to state, "Compare that to other high-paying jobs such as attorneys, doctors, or dentists, which only account for 2% of the millionaire pool. People in those ultra-demanding occupations are often the sole breadwinners in their families, with spouses or partners holding down the fort at home. And when it's time to retire, the payout may be less." So it's being part of a two-income household and not the act of teaching specifically that results in high net worth. And the article mentions nothing about the relative contribution of income earned by educators vs that earned by non-educator spouses toward reaching high net worth status. I know I shouldn't be feeding the troll, but good grief this was inane even by troll standards.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 4, 2014 7:16 pm
That doesn't change the fact that educators are number two on the list. Most households today are two income.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 5, 2014 10:02 am
It also doesn't change the fact that you don't understand the concept of causation, which is in no way established in this case. In addition the author doesn't define the group "educators" which is important because Taxpayer has a very specific obsession: K-12 educators who work for SDP. If educators includes people outside of K-12 it increases further the absurdity of the argument from this site's favorite troll. Let's consider the case of my good friend Larry Kaiser. As dean of Temple's med school Larry is an educator, as CEO of TUHS he is also a manager and as a practicing surgeon he is a physician as well. He is most definitely a millionaire. I have no idea how Larry would be categorized for these purposes, nor does Taxpayer.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 4, 2014 1:30 pm
yet again, your amazing level of ignorance and prejudice is showing. I can understand why you do not write under your real name, I wouldn't either if I kept making myself out to look as stupid and ignorant as you do on an almost daily basis SMH..
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2014 4:38 pm
Please don't feed the troll.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2014 6:44 pm
Nowhere is it confirmed that the officer died as a result of the fight, stress from that fight or stress from previous fights. I'm sickened by all of the people who immediately use the death of a child or adult to advance a political agenda. At for the first 12 hours, it would've been nice to express support and sympathy to the family.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on June 3, 2014 9:18 pm
People are not using the death for political purposes. We speak from experience. We are just telling it like it is. Those of us who work in rough schools see what the School Police Officers do for us and how tough their jobs are. My school has an AMAZING School Police Officer. However, she may have the hardest job of anyone in our school building. Especially in schools in the roughest neighborhoods and in the comprehensive high schools, the job of a SPO is stressful by design. They must deal with the most difficult students. They must exercise good split-second judgement in stressful situations. SPOs mainly put out fires all day. Some principals insist on having an SPO (or multiple SPOs) present when certain parents come to the school. If I recall correctly, Bartram had 8 SPOs before the student knocked the staff person unconscious. Then, the District sent in 4 more SPOs, for a total of 12 SPOs. There's a reason why more SPOs were sent instead of more NTAs or Noon Time Aides or Deans (not to demean what these other staff persons do at all). Sometimes, there's no substitute for a SPO.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 4, 2014 10:05 am
So what do you call it when every time there is a death in a school there is a kneejerk reaction by members of the PFT to blame it on the lack of staff? Without even knowing the facts? If that isn't an agenda, I don't know what is.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 4, 2014 9:33 pm
The facts are simple: Officer Giles was one of the first two SPO's to arrive at the scene of the fight. Officer Giles placed himself between two large males, one from the football team, bringing both of them to the ground then holding both, one in each arm until further assistance arrived. The fight started from an incident earlier in the school year and might have been handled without violence if more staff were present to observe and interact with the boys. There was no previous fight that day and this one was certainly strenuous enough to cause a heart attack to one who is predisposed to have one. Officer Giles had a fine physique; muscular with no excess flab. He was a smoker. Who knows if the medical doctors will link the fight to the death? if so, the boys involved might face manslaughter charges. Nonetheless, these boys will likely be burdened for quite some time with the thought that their fight likely killed a man. So, let us mourn this man, support his family, and see to it that those alive who were involved for better or worse can recover from the shock of this tragedy.
Submitted by George Washington student (not verified) on June 5, 2014 12:37 am
First and foremost R.I.P. to sarg...I myself attend George Washington high school and this was a very traumatizing experience. He will be missed by most, especially by us students. He was the type of person who can put a smile on your face, on your worst day and make your best day even better.
Submitted by George Washington h.s. student (not verified) on June 5, 2014 12:04 am
First and foremost R.I.P. to sarg...I myself attend George Washington high school and this was a very traumatizing experience. He will be missed by most, especially by us students. He was the type of person who can put a smile on your face, on your worst day and make your best day even better.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2014 12:42 pm
Jones must go if he did hid job and followed the school district policy and 21 then serg . Be alive today snd coach Cohen must go and the football team be band for 1 year they fight cut class there failing and does he care no he wants to win no matter at what ? Serg. Life then he has the gaul to show up at his funeral .its not all of the team sorry boys that follows the rules and sorry you dont have a good mentor coach .them boys should have been gone in September and hopefully Jones. And Cohen are gone in September and we will all be sining ha ha good by

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