Tideline Magazine

(Tideline) #1


hen Pali cam-
pus aide Sean
Brown’s sister
was diagnosed
with a rare form of bone can-
cer three years ago, the doctors
said she had six months to live.
“Every time they count-
ed her out and said, ‘Oh,
she’s got six months, oh,
she’s got two months, oh,
it’s next week,’” Brown re-
called. “But she’s still here.”
Finding inspiration in his
sister’s strength and determina-
tion, Brown hasn’t let the hard-
ships posed by the COVID-
pandemic discourage him.
“That’s the thing that keeps
me from crying every day,” he
said. “When it’s rough, or when
I’m down, I just look and be
like, ‘What would she do?’ I’ll
call her on the phone and she
says something positive... and
I’m like: ‘Yep. I’m ok. I got this.’”
Brown has worked on-cam-
pus security for the last 10
months of the pandemic. Al-
though teachers and students
have been forced to work vir-
tually, some jobs can’t be done
remotely. Brown is among 45
classified employees — staff
without a teaching credential
who perform on-campus work
— who have braved COVID-
and continued to work at Pali,
performing vital, sometimes
under-appreciated services.
Although their hours
and shifts have changed
during the crisis, their ded-
ication has not wavered.
Classified employees could
not work on campus from
last March, when the school
first closed, until August, five
months later. Principal Pamela
Magee reported that all of Pali’s
office and campus safety staff re-
turned to their regular full-time
schedules by Jan. 11, but even
a few months of missed part-
time work can cause permanent
financial damage and exacer-
bate an already difficult profes-
sional life for many employees.
During the fall semester,

None of

us ever


we’d be


with this,

but we are


through it.

when full-time on-campus work
was not possible, Magee said
that the school made accommo-
dations for the classified staff to
work remotely when feasible.
Brown, along with the
other classified workers at
Pali, worked online doing
whatever they could to get
hours, eagerly waiting to
hear from administration if
they could resume on-cam-
pus work in the near future.
Eventually, their wishes
were granted. Most classified
employees were on a limited
schedule for the duration of the
fall semester, working three-
to-four days per week instead
of five. Before the school’s
closure, another security com-
pany had worked the night
and weekend shifts at Pali,
but the administration man-
aged to transfer those hours
to Brown and his colleagues.
While the changing sched-
ules and months of lockdown
hampered classified work-
ers, Brown reported that
the Pali community stuck
together, exchanging hard-
to-get cleaning supplies and
reaching out through Zoom
and Facetime to check in.
“We’re just always looking
to see if there is any way to
assist each other, or help each
other out,” Brown said, “just
doing anything we can do.”
Even though he is of-
ten alone during his shifts,
Brown said that his “Pali fam-
ily” rallied to offer support.
“It’s just that community
thing of trying to help each
other out, knowing that we’re
all going through this,” he
said. “What can we do but
be a little nicer and... a little
more of a help to each other?”
Representing the adminis-
tration, Magee worked around
Pali’s pandemic-induced fi-
nancial crunch, a situation she
explained initially led to three
classified employees receiv-
ing layoff or furlough notices.
Eventually, two were

FeatureFeature by Joey Chae and Atticus Parker
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