Checking in on the ID Checkers

Darryll Harris and Keith Jackson keep school day safe


photo by Michael Tomeo

Pictured at their post, Darryl Harris (left) and Keith Jackson (right) ensure that students are wearing their IDs as they enter school.

As you walk into school with countless other kids, you are suddenly plucked out of obscurity, stopped and pulled aside. What are you guilty of? Your only crime is not wearing your school ID. As you rummage through your backpack, one of two men carefully watches over you to make sure you find it. If you are unable to locate it, they will direct you towards the front office to pick up a temporary pass. For you, that morning instance is just a tiny blip in an otherwise big day. For some, it is a job to be taken seriously. 

Darryl Harris and Keith Jackson are the men checking IDs in the morning, but their lives are much more than just checking for lanyards.

Harris was born and raised in Deland, Florida. He went to school in Deland as well, playing football and running track in high school, but moved down to Oviedo for a job opportunity after graduating. 

“I put in for the job and they hired me,” Harris said. “I actually applied twice. I came back for a second interview this year and ended up getting the job here.”

For him, the job is about more than just school safety. “I wanted to be a safety guard so I could have a relationship with the students and be like a big brother to them. It’s good to teach them right from wrong and keep them out of trouble,” Harris said. 

Jackson, on the other hand, grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He moved to Florida in order to attend college, but fell in love with the state and ended up staying to work on campus. 

“The opportunity came about and I heard great things about the school and I got hired. I just filled out the application and I was in. The whole thing was a great experience.” 

The two men perform different tasks on campus outside of checking IDs in the morning. Jobs for Harris include checking bathrooms to make sure students are not vaping, ensuring kids are in class, and keeping the campus safe. Oftentimes this includes patrolling school property, checking on the school parking lots and being on call for emergencies. 

Jackson operates more in the sphere of actual classrooms. He assists in the weight room, helps run in-school suspension, and acts as an emergency sub. “The job changes everyday, but that is part of what makes it exciting,” Jackson said.

Outside of regular school duties, both men try to build a relationship with the students they interact with each day.

“I talk to a lot of students, I even gave some of them nicknames,” Harris said. “I enjoy seeing them come into school everyday.” Harris believes that it is the little things that help brighten a student’s day. 

Jackson agrees: “There are a lot [of students] that know me and say hello every day or wave. It’s not always ‘Hey, where is your badge at?’ Sometimes we just want to say hi.”

For Harris, a former high school athlete, working with kids in extracurriculars is especially rewarding.

“I play football, and I love working here because you can coach track and other sports. I want to see every student become successful, both in sports and school.” 

School, for Jackson and Harris, extends beyond the classroom. The entire environment of a learning locale is important, and both men think that this campus is exemplary. 

“The administration here is amazing,” Jackson said. “It’s like a nice family structure with our leadership. The students here are great as well. I want to work my way up, and maybe one day be a bigger part of that.” 

Harris also sees the school in his future. “I love working for the school board. It’s the only job where you can teach students and show them the right path to take. I try to help them learn from my own experiences back when I was in school.” 

Whether it be protecting campus during the school day, checking IDs in the morning, or acting as a substitute teacher, Darryl Harris and Keith Jackson play a large role in every student’s day to day life.