Marathon Man

Jon Price Clocks In Up To 25 Miles A Day For Student Safety

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Marathon Man

Highland security guard Jon Price patrolling the halls between classes.

Highland security guard Jon Price patrolling the halls between classes.

Noah Herridge

Highland security guard Jon Price patrolling the halls between classes.

Noah Herridge

Noah Herridge

Highland security guard Jon Price patrolling the halls between classes.

Gabriel Hammond, Rambler Staff Writer

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Jon Price does not resemble a typical educator. Sporting a bald head, a beard, and tattoos down both arms, he can be intimidating upon first glance. While it certainly wouldn’t be recommendable to break the rules while he’s on the lookout, his character has much more depth than scary security guard.
His tattoos, for example, all have significant meanings to him. One is the name of his eldest daughter, while another celebrates the artistry of Jimi Hendrix. The most important one to him is a buffalo soldier cavalry crest, representing the ancestor that brought his family to Utah. This care placed behind the design of his ink is also shown in his approach to his work.
A diverse school such as Highland can present a variety of challenges to an administration, where a rapid change in approach may be necessary from student to student. That said, Price seems prepared for the task. He is fully aware of the need for a revolving skill set.
“I have to go from a counselor to a detective at a moment’s notice,” Price said.
Price’s duties include ensuring student safety, checking for parking violations, keeping the hallways clear during class, and much more that can’t be put into a job description because of the unpredictability the job brings.
Price is constantly on the move, clocking in 25 miles a day just walking around the school — nearly the length of a marathon. Stories have circulated of his seemingly supernatural ability to move instantly from one hall to the next, appearing around a corner in the basement one moment and then greeting students on the third floor the next.
Whether or not he can actually teleport, Price is definitely able to keep tabs on students throughout the school. This is something that is certain to come in handy with the administration, which has been tackling the rise in teenage vaping that has been sweeping the nation along with the typical issues of truancy that high schools encounter.
Results are difficult to measure in a high school, but anecdotally there is evidence of the success of Price’s methods. From the beginning of the year, there has been a noticeable drop in the amount of kids vaping wherever he patrols (his practice of closing the locker rooms during class certainly helps). Perhaps the most glowing praise of his efforts came from some freshmen overheard complaining about “That tall guy with the beard” that has made it impossible for them to skip class.
That isn’t to say that they don’t still try, of course. One student that Price remembers tried to blame his tardiness on involvement with pro football. Unknown to him, Price worked in pro football for 13 years, and quickly blew through his story with some specific questions about his alleged experience.
Price has quickly found appreciation from the Highland staff. He is grateful for the welcoming and supportive environment that he felt the staff created for him, something that principal Chris Jenson certainly encouraged.
“He has made a huge difference, we’re safer with Jon. He’s kind, but a presence,” Jenson said.
This is the difficult but necessary balance that a school security official must maintain: be approachable but still intimidating enough to be able to quell troublemakers.
Jenson also commented that he likes Price’s heart, a sentiment that makes a good deal of sense after even a short conversation with him. Having grown up in Salt Lake, Price remembers his own high school experience and laments that he didn’t have someone like himself to serve as a guide. This isn’t to imply he isn’t happy with where he is, he is just all too aware of the significant effect that a school official can have on the rest of a student’s life. This is the key to his success, and the quality that makes him a compelling addition to the school. Price genuinely cares about students and expressed that he wants students to know that he is always open to people if they need to talk to him.
He says that he plans to be “the loudest one cheering at graduation,” and hopefully he’ll have helped a few more students reach the stage on his way there.
In the meantime, students who are looking to skip class or think they can slip into a dark corner of the school better beware. Price might walk 25 miles a day, but his next step could be right around the corner.