Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Oct. 10, 2006

Students unite over ID policy

by Pia Nargundkar, Online Editor-in-Chief
Since the administration's new ID policy was unveiled over a week ago on Silver Chips Online, 178 comments have been made on the story and over 350 people have voted on the ID policy-related poll.

This mass outpouring of student opinion on the newly implemented ID policy has shown surprising unity among Blazers who normally use the comment section of SCO to disagree. In a recent article concerning the removal of early action/early decision, two commenters brought up the questionable newsworthiness of the piece. This prompted several rebuttals from other students, with valid points being raised by both sides. However, in the ID policy, Blazers have found something they all disagree about together. The common theme? The students are upset about the new policy and want it changed.

After witnessing five weeks of no IDs and relatively few problems, students question the need for and effectiveness of the ID system. They mention the inconvenience and impracticality of Saturday detentions and administrator conferences for busy working parents.

One sophomore wrote, "My aunt works over twelve hours a day, five days a week and the last thing she wants to do on her weekend off is to drive seven miles from up-county to Blair High School just because of my absent-mindedness in regards to IDs."

Most agree that suspensions and the other forms of punitive action outlined by the administration are too harsh for a simple offense. In an informal survey of 181 students conducted during 5A and 5B lunch during the week of Oct. 3, 88 percent of students thought the disciplinary actions outlined in the new policy are unfair. The students also agree, in varying degrees, that the SGA has stood up for student's rights and that SGA President Eric Hysen should be commended for his efforts.

Several of the students who combined their voices on this issue are usually at each other's throats on others. Under their adopted "handles," Libertarian, Anarchist, Republican and more, have become constant presences in the forums over the years. These students with starkly different political leanings and opinions use the forums to argue about everything ranging from the war in the Middle East to Homecoming themes. Yet, the ID policy issue saw no debate among these regulars.

Libertarian acknowledges this, commenting, "Wow, when Jon Brookstone, Republican, Anarchist, and myself all agree on something, you know it has nothing to do with politics, but is simply a horrible policy."

Numerous students also suggested methods of protest, such as a mass boycott of IDs and Saturday sit-ins in hopes to catch the administration's attention. Multiple people cited the Student Right and Responsibilities handbook for information regarding petitions.

Although a consensus has not been reached between the administration and the student body, this united front of Blazers has certainly had an effect. SGA President Eric Hysen showed the comments, a near record-breaking number, to principal Phillip Gainous in order to alert him to student opinion.

No matter how this issue is resolved, these differing students will inevitably part their ways and once again fall to bitter disagreement. For the time being however, they stand united.

Please click here for coverage of the ID policy and its history.

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Silver Chips Online invites you to share your thoughts about this article. Please use this forum to further discussion of the story topic and refrain from personal attacks and offensive language. SCO reserves the right to deny any comment. No comments that include hyperlinks will be posted. If you have a question for us, please include your email address or use this form.

  • Anarchist on October 11, 2006 at 1:16 AM
    Ah...promoted from the comments to an actual article: my goal in life has been achieved.

    Thanks SCO!

    Oh, IDs still suck.
  • yo on October 11, 2006 at 12:30 PM
    theres also a facebook group of like 200 people of "students opposed to the new ID policy".
  • Eli Barnett on October 11, 2006 at 4:20 PM
    Yes, im suprised they actually pay attention to the commend threads, i was just glad that im not the only one who realizes that the policy is rediculous.
  • Keisha on October 11, 2006 at 9:31 PM
    Yay Pia! Good article.
  • Libertarian (View Email) on October 11, 2006 at 9:45 PM
    "Under their adopted "handles," Libertarian, Anarchist, Republican and more, have become constant presences in the forums over the years."

    Not trying to be picky, but I've only been using this name for about a year now, and I believe Republican is new this year.

    Now down to the content. Great article, completely true. No matter what political outlook, the ID policy is stupid, plain and simple. I've already shared my views, so I'll be brief.

    I would like to thank Silver Chips for providing the stories and opportunities to comment. I would like to thank the SGA and Eric Hysen in particular (he's been very helpful) for not simply endorsing this policy and going along with it, but standing up to the administration, and showing them student opinion. I know I've complained about the SGA in the past, and I still maintain that they have little real power, but the little power they have they are using effectively to at least let the administration know what we think. Also I'm hoping a petition with 2,000+ names on it will make an effect. That's my goal for when we do get a petition out there. Keep fighting Blazers, this isn't about a plastic card, it's about the principle of the administration simply enforcing a stupid policy that does nothing to protect us simply to assert their power.
  • sp on October 12, 2006 at 1:03 AM
    It's great that people at your school care this much about stuff and actually bother to read stories on a student newspaper website and discuss them. A lot of places (like my school) can't say the same.
  • Eli Barnett on October 12, 2006 at 7:57 PM
    to Libertarian:
    When you do get a petition out, please tell us so we can sign it. I completely agree, the adimistration knows that the ID policy does nothing to help the student body.
  • Libertarian (View Email) on October 12, 2006 at 9:37 PM
    On the petition: Current goal is this Monday. Thanks for the interest.
  • grace on October 12, 2006 at 10:25 PM
    "near record-breaking" at 178? wow.

    so what article is the record holder?
  • Ayu on October 13, 2006 at 1:17 PM
    ""near record-breaking" at 178? wow.

    so what article is the record holder? "
    Well, how many students actually participate in and read Silver Chips Online? I'm not really surprised that 178 is a record high considering how apathetic a majority of Blair's population is.
    "It's great that people at your school care this much about stuff and actually bother to read stories on a student newspaper website and discuss them. A lot of places (like my school) can't say the same. "
    I find it kind of funny how Silver Chips is prominent enough to have people who don't even go to Blair read it.
    Kudos to Silver Chips Online.
    "I would like to thank the SGA and Eric Hysen in particular (he's been very helpful) for not simply endorsing this policy and going along with it, but standing up to the administration, and showing them student opinion."
    I would also like to thank the SGA and especially Eric Hysen. I've had a friend tell me that he has not gotten anything done, but I completely disagree. Just look around Blair's hallways to see how proactive he has been as SGA president. I think we've had one of the best spirit weeks in recent memory with the decorated hallways. Moreover, I feel as though Hysen has been voicing our opinion with respect to the ID policy and has been working non-stop. He deserves some gratification.
    Over all, it's great to see Blair uniting as a community in the face of administration. Sometimes we have to stick up for ourselves.
  • Jon Phoenix Brookstone on October 18, 2006 at 7:43 AM
    Thanks very much to Silver Chips for illustrating the immense unity in the school on this issue. For all those with Facebook, I strongly urge you to join the recently formed group ""Students against the new ID policy" and to invite all your friends to join it as well. More instructions about what you can do can be found there.
  • Jacquelyn Shropshire (View Email) on October 18, 2006 at 7:58 AM
    Hello Blairites....I just wanted you to know I miss being your Accounting and Computer Apps. teacher at Blair...I am awaiting my MCPS grievance decision and will continue to fight for reinstatement @ Blair HS after being an exemplary teacher there for 32 uninterrupted years and suddenly being involuntarily surplused on July 15 of this year. Keep up the great work for justice for all.
  • phoenix (View Email) on October 18, 2006 at 9:53 AM
    As a Blair alumnus, I'm deeply disappointed to read about this situation.

    Nobody who's ever done anything useful in life, ever wore a color-coded student ID badge. This is just stupid, and I would think that a respected and decorated principal like Philip Gainous would see through this. Principal Gainous has been around long enough to know what kind of mess a program like this will bring on, and that students will protest.

    It's really put to the students, here: As a unified student body, you will either stand together and refuse the entire ID program, or you'll just accept it for what it is - a flawed and ill-conceived segregator, crammed down your throats in the name of "safety."

    When I attended Blair some years back, we had two (or was it three) security guys at the school. They were more than adequate - and this was when Blair was a short walk from downtown Silver Spring.

    Here's a hint to anyone thinking the ID program will work: This isn't about safety, kids. It's about creating the illusion that the school system is "doing something" to protect students from an unseen enemy.

    It's all nonsense, and it needs to end immediately.
  • Jay Asbell (View Email) on October 18, 2006 at 4:24 PM
    Hahahaha I just came across the washington post article, this is hillarious. Havent you guys learned anything? Petitions, "student government" and protests will do nothing, the administration will continue to make decisions without any reguard for the interests of the students, and things will only get worse. I'm so glad I got out of that terrible place.

    Class of 06
  • Libertarian (View Email) on October 20, 2006 at 1:03 AM
    To Jay Asbell,

    They have accomplished small tasks. Mr. Gainous is slowly changing the ID policy, trying to satisfy enough people to stop all the fuss. He's getting some heat, and I for one am enjoying it. If he chooses to be stubborn with this ID policy he's gonna hear about it from the parents and students, and apparently now the media.

    Or look at it this way. Can it hurt to try?
  • Apathetic on October 20, 2006 at 4:23 PM

    I completely agree. This whole farce is to "show" that they're "doing something." Yeah, they're doing something, but it's useless and a waste of both time and money, both of which would be better spent improving learning conditions than doing nothing to the security situation.

    One would think that, after seeing that their "illusion of security" has no effect on the students and parents, they would give it up. But instead, they stubbornly pursue the issue, making up new reasons to justify a pointless policy.

    Good luck with that, administration. We'll just rebuff every new reason you can come up with.

    You may have bamboozled some people, but most of us aren't fooled.
  • mark goodman on October 28, 2006 at 12:02 AM
    The whole thing is so stupid. Didn't those three weeks where we didn't have go off without a hitch? How many random people snuck into Blair? Isn't that what the ID's are supposed to protect against? Wow, what a deterrant. A tiny piece of plastic. I'll be sure to not break into a school anytime soon. How many fights have their been this year? How many fights have been stopped because of our little plastic safety badges. I love ID's. They keep me safe from fights, and bomb threats, and people coming into the school. I feel really safe with a 5 cent piece of plastic that they charge 5 dollars for hanging around my neck. Just kidding. This whole thing is stupid and it's just like phoenix said, a show put on by the administration.
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