BBCHS ID Policy Still Controversial

Last year, BBCHS introduced a policy making it mandatory for students to wear their school-issued IDs on lanyards. The ID policy’s goal is to ensure everyone in the building is meant to be there, to make the school safer. Whether it is an effective security measure remains contested between the students and staff.

BBCHS’s ID policy is defined in the student handbook as being required to wear a lanyard and ID at all times during the day, except in P.E. The lanyards are color-coded to reflect different grade levels, as well as staff and visitor status. IDs are used for buying lunch at the cafeteria, library checkout, and dances. According to Mr. Ryan Kemp, assistant principal for the freshman class, the policy’s purpose is to “make sure [the school’s] students are safe by having identification for everyone who comes into the building.”

When asked if he thought the policy was effective, Kemp answered, “I believe so.” In his opinion, the policy’s effectiveness comes most from the coloring of lanyards to indicate students, staff, and visitors. Students have a different view. Senior Zoey Bunnell agreed that most students wear their IDs, but on the matter of safety she commented “I honestly don’t think they are effective as a security measure because people are still violent. Nothing will change.” Jaeci Johnston, with BBCHS’s Literary Magazine, echoed Bunnell’s views, adding that most school shooters attend the schools they attack.

The student reaction to the IDs has been poor, overall. But, despite the negative reception, students seem to be complying. Kemp ascertained that around ninety-six percent of students wear their IDs. As Senior Kevin O’Gorman put it, “The student body has reacted with either grudging acceptance or vocal opposition.”

This isn’t the first year that BBCHS has used IDs. Last year, the policy was introduced and held for a short time, but few students wore their IDs later on. Kemp claimed, back then the purpose was integrating the new lunch system, being the “initial phase” of the policy. O’Gorman proclaimed it failed because many didn’t take the administration seriously and didn’t see enforcement.

The administration’s push for enforcement of the policy this year seems to be holding strong as opposed to before. When asked if he had anything he wished to comment, Kemp said this: “I would say, students not wearing their IDs will face disciplinary consequences…and will potentially be sent home if they are not in compliance.”

In other schools, wearable student IDs are commonplace. According to the National Center for Education Statistics for the 2015-16 school year, 16.2% of U.S. public high schools require wearable IDs. After record high numbers of school shootings in recent years, that number may be growing. In regard to BBCHS’s adoption of the policy, Kemp said, “School safety was the biggest thing in light of what is happening in other schools.”

It remains to be seen if the ID policy is effective toward increasing school safety. Yet, most are of the mind that the policy will remain in place for the foreseeable future.