August 22, 2018
As a new academic year begins this morning with Freshman Orientation at Fenwick, the school has hired one of its own as a School Resource Officer. James Sperandio (pictured above), from the Friars' Class of 1985, retired this June from the Village of Oak Park Police Department, where he served for 27 years; the last 19 as a detective.
“The safety and security of our students always is our first and foremost priority,” stated President Father Richard Peddicord, O.P. “They truly are our most valuable resource, and we need to do whatever it takes to protect them when they venture across our ‘moat and draw-bridge’ from the secular world.
“We Friars are celebrating our 90th academic year here at Fenwick in 2018-19,” Fr. Peddicord continued, “and this is the first time we will have someone in this capacity on a full-time basis.” Officer Sperandio, who nearly everyone knows as Jimmy, has worked part-time for several years at Fenwick. “His is the smiling face behind the glass at our reception window,” Peddicord said. For the past 11 years Mr. Sperandio has taught a non-credit “Street Law” class at his high school alma mater.
Get to know Fenwick’s Officer Sperandio by reading this blog from May of 2017: https://blog.fenwickfriars.com/tag/jimmy-sperandio/
This summer, Fenwick’s operations staff also installed upgraded surveillance cameras in the school’s parking lots and athletic fields. Additionally, the procedures for entering the locked school building. All visitors need to be pre-announced and escorted. Upon entry, they must present a valid driver’s license to the front-desk attendant. The I.D. is scanned via an iPad app, which runs a quick background check and prints a name badge. Fr. Peddicord is quick to point out that these additional safety initiatives are proactive in nature: “We are not waiting to have to react to an incident,” he noted.
Phil Andrew is the new Director of Violence Prevention Initiatives for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The enhanced safety efforts, especially Officer Sperandio’s full-time hiring, are lauded by former FBI agent Phil Andrew, who joined the Archdiocese of Chicago earlier this year as Director of Violence Prevention Initiatives. “The Fenwick community knows that safety and peacefulness yield better outcomes in education environments,” explained Mr. Andrew, who served in law enforcement for 21 years before accepting the newly appointed position this past February. “The bottom line is that students need to feel and be safe to thrive,” he said. “Fenwick’s leadership is demonstrating their commitment to creating a culture of safety and taking into account students’ social-emotional needs.”
VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH PHIL ANDREW