Silver Chips Online

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

Blazers no longer required to display IDs at all times

By Blake Morgan-Gamber, Online Features and Sports Editor
August 13, 2009
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.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9295