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Aug. 13, 2009

Williams announces change in ID policy for 2009-2010 school year

by Blake Morgan-Gamber, Online Features and Sports Editor
In a newsletter sent to parents regarding the upcoming 2009-2010 school year, Principal Darryl Williams announced that Blazers will no longer be required to display their IDs at all times. The new policy officially states that Blazers must instead have their IDs readily available to be displayed upon request.

During the 2007-2008 school year, all IDs were identical and were
required by students to be displayed at all times. <i>Picture from Silver Chips Online database.</i>
During the 2007-2008 school year, all IDs were identical and were required by students to be displayed at all times. Picture from Silver Chips Online database.
Williams stated that the change in the ID policy would be the only policy change for the approaching school year and stressed the importance for Blazers to adhere to existing school regulations. He explained that IDs must be displayed when conducting financial transactions through the MCPS Vault, buying lunch and visiting the college, career and media centers and remarked that the change in the ID policy was due to feedback from various members of the Blair community, including parents and the Student Government Association (SGA).

Williams recalled the challenges of the past year's ID policy due to the need to issue replacement IDs to Blazers who did not have an ID for the day. He explained that the system of issuing replacement IDs not only hindered security's ability to monitor school safety, but was also a disturbance to classes. "Having students to get replacement IDs was affecting classroom instructional time," Williams said. "Students need to be in classes and learning."

Williams explained that although Blazers will no longer need to wear their IDs at all times, they must display them upon request. "Students with abbreviated schedules or on internships will have to display IDs upon exiting the building. The staff and I will be conducting regular spot checks and we are tightening our security around the building," he said. Williams also warned of his ability to revoke the new policy if he sees fit. "I still have the flexibility to reenact the displaying of IDs if I feel we need to based on reasons or incidents," he said.

While some Blazers have shown their objection to wearing IDs in the past, Williams believes students will be more appreciative of the new policy. Junior David Struewing explained that he did not feel that the past ID policy served its intended purpose of providing Blazers more security. "Just because everyone wears a tag with their name and photo around their necks doesn't mean we're any safer," he said. "I don't mind IDs. I just don't like being forced to wear one all the time. I think this new policy could work."

In 2006, Principal Phillip Gainous was surrounded a large group of television reporters during an impromptu interview regarding Blair's ID policy, which then involved  a color-coded system. Jeff Lautenberger
In 2006, Principal Phillip Gainous was surrounded a large group of television reporters during an impromptu interview regarding Blair's ID policy, which then involved a color-coded system.
The change in the forthcoming school year's ID policy is one of many changes made to the policy over the past three years. Since the 2006-2007 school year, school IDs have changed physically in color and in significance.

Senior Chloe Sheridan recalled that the ID policy has changed greatly since she was a freshman in 2006. That year, IDs were color coded based on grade and academy. Sheridan commented that the previous policy did not provide students with security but rather endangered specific groups. "They basically singled everyone out. All the freshmen had one color and the ESOL kids had one color so you could easily tell who they were," she said. "The policy didn't do its job."

During the past three school years, students were required to display their IDs at all hours during the school day. Alarming events that threatened Blazer safety during the 2008-2009 school year, such as the stabbing of a Blazer in November 2008, caused administration to emphasize the importance of wearing IDs. "Administration definitely got stricter about IDs last year," Sheridan said. "I donít think it was that necessary for us to wear our IDs at all times. If anything it was a false sense of security. Kids from other schools could easily just walk in and IDs couldn't stop them."

Although a series of alterations have been made to the ID policy in previous years, Williams made no indication that the administration will ever get rid of IDs entirely. With the change in policy, administration hopes to promote a safe learning environment and a positive school year for Blazers. Williams further noted that in order to achieve optimal results, administration will review the policy. "We will see the outcome of this modified ID policy and reevaluate mid-year and at the end of the year," he said.

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  • Wylie Conlon (View Email) on August 14, 2009 at 12:42 AM
    This is what they should have done from the beginning.
  • Blazer '09 on August 14, 2009 at 5:11 AM
    Well finally! Something reasonable. Too bad I already graduated.
  • Eli Barnett on August 14, 2009 at 7:01 PM
    I wholeheartedly approve. This new policy sounds entirely reasonable.
  • Talia Mason (View Email) on August 15, 2009 at 10:14 AM
    thank god we don't have to wear them all the time..this is great for those of us who forgot our IDs at home...just can leave them in our backpacks now..Good article Blake!!!
  • Kitty Cat (View Email) on August 15, 2009 at 5:51 PM
    • binx on August 16, 2009 at 7:55 PM
      You should get kicked out off school, because you disrespected the teacher. That is why ID is really needed at Blair. This is a mistake.
      • Eli Barnett on August 17, 2009 at 9:27 AM
        ID's are needed at Blair so people will respect the staff? What? Am I missing something here?

        I don't see the connection.
        • Another parent on August 18, 2009 at 6:43 PM
          Kitty Cat tried to get the ID back from a teacher. That is unacceptable behavior. That teacher got the ID from student to hand over security or administrator. However, I think Kitty Cat tried to take back her ID from the teacher. She should get kicked out school.
          • Eli Barnett on August 19, 2009 at 9:19 AM
            I don't know the details of the situation, nor are they really relevant to my post. I was addressing the "That is why ID is really needed at Blair." I fail to see how wearing a strip of plastic forces students to respect the staff. On the contrary, it seems that it accomplishes the very opposite.
            • Parent on August 22, 2009 at 11:04 AM
              I did not say ID is symbol of respecting the staff. I said "Trying to take the ID from a teacher is violating school rules." Wearing ID is a symbol of belonging in this institution and respecting the institution.
              • Eli Barnett on August 29, 2009 at 6:45 PM
                I couldn't disagree more, and that's certainly not how the administration was selling the ID policy. It was intended (or at least, as far as we students know) as a security measure.
          • '10 on August 23, 2009 at 3:05 PM
            She should get kicked out of school for trying to get her ID back from a teacher?
            you are ridiculous
    • ... on August 19, 2009 at 3:31 AM
      well if you think about it. if your teacher asked you for it then it wouldn't even matter if you're wearing it or not...
  • ben on August 15, 2009 at 10:53 PM
    The best policy is to require an ID to enter the building, via an ID scanner. Of course, the school can't afford a few hundred dollars to do this. Too bad we spent all that money on promethean boards...
    • kittywhiskers (View Email) on August 17, 2009 at 8:34 AM
      sheesh - if they hadn't spent so much on prometheans, some of the teachers would have been able to stick around. I mean, there's shortage of teachers all over the place!

      Glad there's no more color coding. that's kind of embarassing for some of the students.
      • eric (View Email) on August 19, 2009 at 9:22 PM
        The technology budget that was used for the promethean boards is completely separate from the one used to pay for teachers. Had the tech money not been spent on something, it would have been lost.
  • Jon Cariba Phoenix on August 16, 2009 at 8:17 AM
    WHOO!!! NICELY DONE STUDENTS!!!! All the students who fought so long and hard against this policy with protests, petitions, and not wearing them should REJOICE!!! AT YOUR VICTORY!!!

  • aseofijwe on August 16, 2009 at 12:52 PM
    This ROCKS.
    and so does blake.
  • Parent on August 16, 2009 at 3:53 PM
    Wait until a student or staff get injuried by an outsider. The school will get in troubles. Is there anyone remember Blairs 27 years ago? Gangs!
    • Eli Barnett on August 17, 2009 at 9:30 AM
      OH NOES, without our magic pieces of plastic to protect us, someone is going to shoot up the school!

      Please, we've heard enough of this thoroughly ridiculous argument before. Being forced to wear IDs, at least with the policy we had, did nothing but cause unnecessary disruption.
    • ... on August 19, 2009 at 3:34 AM
      there are still gangs at blair now.... people keep talking about outsiders... when no one is doing anything to prevent insiders from injuring students and staff... maybe they should give every student and teacher a suit of armor?...
  • huh on August 16, 2009 at 5:59 PM
    i mean to all of us blazers this is like AMAZING... but to every other high school student in mcps this is no big deal, because it's NORMAL for them. i agree, this is what they have done from the beginning, because thats what every other school has. IDs are just necessary for checking out books and buying lunch and stuff, it's regular.
    while we should be thankful, i'm just more annoyed at the administration that it took them this long to get over feeling super powerful and authoritative, over something totally wasteful.
  • eric (View Email) on August 16, 2009 at 10:06 PM
    @ben barcodes are not security, so this would require something along the lines of RFID. Since this would lower the profit the school makes on lost IDs, it would never be implemented.

    I see this as a bad thing... what stupid school policies can we fight against now? What will we spend our free time mocking and ridiculing? Our IDs will no longer be bulletproof!
  • PassionFlute on August 16, 2009 at 11:17 PM
    Finally! This years looking up, guys =D All our efforts payed off.
  • A Parent on August 17, 2009 at 10:11 AM
    If you are working in a educated place, everyone requires to wear IDs. The McDonald, Burger King, KFC, etc. do not required their employees to wear IDs. Are we training the students to work at McDonald?
    • nope on August 19, 2009 at 3:23 AM
      lesseee... University of Maryland. do professors wear ID? Hrm.. dont seem to recall any.... hrm... I'm guessing you dont actually work in an educated place.
  • NK (View Email) on August 17, 2009 at 12:35 PM
    @Ben: My father works for NOAA, and he is required to wear an ID badge and scan it in order to open the door to the building (or get into the parking lot, for that matter). The problem with implementing that here is that when a busload of students arrives at the entrance, one student would probably scan their ID and let in all the rest. The only way this would work would be for the ID scanner to be hooked up to a subway-style gate, which probably would be more than we could afford. I say forget an ID scanner, let's require everyone entering the building to have their iris scanned, ŗ la Minority Report! Oh, wait, that might cost even more...

    Truth be told, I will probably still be wearing my ID next year. The Blair staff have gotten me "trained" to the point where if I don't have something hanging around my neck in the halls, I begin feeling nauseous and fearing that someone will stab me in the chest.
  • class of '06 on August 17, 2009 at 8:31 PM
    I remember the id thing, but i just have a feeling that something not good is going to happen because of this, but again it is not difficult to have an id on all day, because when one of you guys get a job or a gov't, pretty much you would have your id on all day, yet kids today just want to be the exception, im just hope im wrong
    • Eli Barnett on August 19, 2009 at 9:22 AM
      "It might happen when you get a job, therefore it should happen now" is not a valid reason for inconveniencing everyone. Being class of '06, you weren't here to experience the sheer amount of stupid interruptions caused by the policy. First period classes wasted about 10 minutes a day, which is unacceptable.

      It's not about "being the exception," it's about simple reasoning. ID's provide minimum security for a large cost. They're not worth the effort.
      • parent on August 22, 2009 at 11:00 AM
        Eli, I wonder how you are doing in classes. Your job is a student. "Inconveniencing" is the part of life. You do not have all freedom that you want. ID is representing you are belonging to something.
        • Eli Barnett on August 29, 2009 at 6:48 PM
          If this is a troll, good job, you got me.

          Simply because I am a student does not mean I am out of place by voicing my opinion about a school policy. That is not the attitude parents should have.
  • someone on August 21, 2009 at 11:56 PM
    by the way - if you look at williams' letter you'll notice that the policy of blocking students from leaving the SAC is STILL IN PLACE!!!!

    please someone write an article about how silly this is...
    • s on August 25, 2009 at 9:05 PM
      Someone did write an article about it a while ago. There can't be enough articles written about it to show the magnitude of how stupid it is.
      • someone on August 29, 2009 at 10:37 PM
        I know they wrote it a while ago, but the fact that this will still be happening is unacceptable...
  • Parent on August 22, 2009 at 11:12 AM
    I think there will have more students will get detention or suspension withour the ID, and they will miss more time from classrooms without ID rules. If the teacher ask for your ID, you do not have one. You will go to Admin, you will get detention. If you argue against any teacher about the ID, you get suspension.

    Teachers: I think you need to check for ID at the beginning of class. A new rule: No ID is no test - student without ID will get Zero for the test. Recommending by parent.
    • a student on August 26, 2009 at 12:30 PM
      this isn't english.
    • Eli Barnett on August 29, 2009 at 6:51 PM
  • agreeagree on August 22, 2009 at 5:50 PM
    i love you Eli!
  • hm on August 24, 2009 at 3:51 PM
    they've finally decided to stop milking $5 from students.
  • Aaron Lane (View Email) on September 4, 2009 at 1:04 PM
    WHAT THE?!?!?!?!? oh i see, now they wanna let up on the i.d policy once '09 leaves.... thats messed up, lol. Well doesnt really matter to me that much because kidds will still get harassed by the guy on the 3rd floor if dont show him their i.d's upon request

  • student on September 17, 2009 at 11:49 AM
    whoaa no ids WHAT
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