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Southern Regional Honors Beloved Late Middle School Security Officer With Memorial

Students and staff in the Southern Regional school won’t soon forget longtime security officer Richard Baran, who died suddenly back in October 2016. They knew him as “Mr. Rich,” the man who always had a smile and a kind word for them. The Southern Regional Middle School Student Council recently planted a crepe myrtle tree – his favorite – in the front of the school, along with a plaque to honor him and his 22 years in the school district.

“Known throughout the hallways as Mr. Rich, he will be remembered for his kind spirit and devotion to keeping Southern safe,” according to district spokesperson Jean Piscopo.

Baran had plenty of experience in security. He was a Bayonne police officer for many years before he retired in 1994, according to his obituary on

“My daughter is a 7th grader at SRMS she has talked about Mr Rich everyday since the first day,” wrote Michelle Arrowood on Legacy’s guestbook for Baran. “How he made them feel welcome and helped ease the new school jitters. She said he was always making them laugh and would go out of his way to talk to you or make you laugh. Always greeted you with a smile. Mr Rich has made a lasting impression on my daughter and I can’t say thank you enough. She helped organize some of her friends to wear BLUE on the Monday after his passing because that was the mood blue-sad. She still stops at his desk in he hall every morning to say Good Morning, Mr. Rich. They have left his desk and his photo was added.”

Images: Courtesy of Southern Regional School District.

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Originally published June 10, 2017.

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