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Students Greet New ID Policy With Skepticism

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Students have been reluctant to follow a new policy implemented Jan. 22 that requires them to wear their student IDs at all times.

“I didn’t really see a need for it, because we’ve been able to get through school just fine,” freshman Jacqueline Johnson said. “They ask for your ID tag, and you pull it out.”

Asked to explain why the policy was enacted, Principal Jonathan Kuehnle said that the policy is primarily a security measure and referenced recent violence in U.S. schools. “We’ve had two school shootings this week — one in Texas and one in Kentucky — two days ago. Those are tragic, and while IDs won’t prevent everything, they are definitely a step to make the school as secure as we can possibly make it,” he said.

Kuehnle added that the policy is “one part of a set of comprehensive security measures.”

Wearing IDs can help determine whether intruders are present. “There was an issue for a semester that there were some people that were here that didn’t belong, and it’s hard to point them out,” math teacher Lori White said.

According to Kuehnle, if every student wears their ID at all times, it will be easy for security to identify an intruder who is not wearing an ID.

“No one security guard can possibly know all 1,600 students. And so, it’s really a way to encourage more positive relationships and interactions with students and security guards,” he said.

“People know who we are,” sophomore Alexa Range said. “All the security guards know me, so I don’t see a point in it.”

Freshman Andrea Harrison questioned the policy, “What’s the point of wearing them during class? I understand if we need them to check out books or stuff like that, but why do we need to wear them the whole day around our necks?”

Kuehnle first sent a robocall to Shaker families Dec. 22 notifying them of the new policy, which began on the first day of second semester.

In an email to high school staff, Dean of Students Greg Zannelli stated that the policy is designed “to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of everyone at SHHS.”

Zannelli also said the IDs would make it “easier and quicker” to buy lunch, check out library books, purchase tickets to dances, enter sporting events, ride the RTA, receive late passes and interact with security guards in the building.

“I have not been wearing it because it was messing up my outfit, and honestly there’s no point in wearing it,” freshman Hannah Moore said. “I understand they want us to wear it so they can know we go to the school, but I feel like as long as we have it on us, and they just ask to see it, that can be fine, too.”

Senior Ethan Vodrey, however, does not object to the policy. “It’s easier to just wear it than to just rebel. It’s not that much of a hassle,” he said.

White agreed. “Any business that you go into will require their employees to wear IDs,” she said. “I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request.”

Math teacher Raymond Durban said his students are not in favor of the new policy. “I teach mostly seniors, and they’re really against it. I tell them it’s no burden and it’s for their own personal benefit,” he said. “It’s really a safety issue, and I’m in favor of everyone wearing them.”

Students received IDs and red lanyards during a Jan. 22 advisory period. Students must wear a lanyard around their neck which displays their ID.

A colored dot on the ID indicates the lunch period the student is in, and the color of the box around the student’s picture indicates grade level.

If students lose their ID, they should see Administrative Assistant Martina Middlebrooks in Room 106 after school to get a new ID at a cost of $3.

Advisory teachers explained that anyone who has problems with the name on their ID tag should see Zannelli to have it changed during lunch or after school.

According to Zannelli, students who refuse to display an ID will be referred to the dean of students or an assistant principal for “appropriate consequences.”

Asked what consequences will be implemented, Kuehnle said, “Right now we’re not even focusing on consequences as we are [on] incentives. That’s because the whole goal of this is to make this as safe a campus as possible for everybody.”

Despite incentives, students are skeptical of the policy. According to Durban, “A lot of the kids have already complained to me that we won’t enforce it.”

Sophomore Dakota Cochran said, “Anything can happen to it. There is never going to be a day where everyone wears their ID.”

 

Investigations Editor Emet Celeste-Cohen contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on pages 14-15 of Volume 88, Issue 2, published Feb. 8 2018.

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Students Greet New ID Policy With Skepticism