"Identifying" the problems

Oct. 10, 2006, midnight | By Jessica Cutler | 17 years, 7 months ago

Blair's new ID policy has a long way to go in the convenience department

Even Blazers who agree IDs have a security benefit have to admit there are everyday inconveniences to the plastic cards. After all, they cost Blair money to create and replace, they are small and easy to lose, they get tangled in backpack straps and jewelry, and few students even understand their purpose. If Blair administration would like students to wear IDs, resorting to detention, suspension and other major punishments for intimidation is not the best way. The ID process should be convenient and fair to all students. While the current proposal's inclusion of two free temporary IDs is a good start, it has a long way to go before it will be fair.

Every day, dozens of Blazers get to school late for legitimate reasons. Some are sick, some arrive on late buses and some have medical appointments. Under the revised policy, even the students who arrive only a few minutes late will be unable to purchase a new ID. If they have already used their two temporary IDs, they are out of luck. Blazers who arrive at school late for an excused reason should have the opportunity to purchase a new ID as if they had arrived on time.

Given the fact that, according to SGA President Eric Hysen, "Last year there was one security staff member working almost the entire day to create replacement IDs," it seems safe to say that a number Blair students forget their IDs each day. If all these students need to buy new IDs before the second bell rings, the line formed to wait for each ID to be printed will likely be so long that some students will be unable to get their IDs made in time. Those who forget their IDs should be able to notify a security guard or designated official upon their arrival, giving their ID number and first block class. IDs could then be created from this information after the bell rings, and the security guards making rounds to check IDs could drop off the newly printed cards at every classroom stop.

Furthermore, the security team could be saved a lot of hassle if students were issued two IDs at the beginning of the year rather than just one. Each student could have one ID card to wear during the day and use after school to get on the Ride On buses, and leave the other with their first or second period teacher to be kept in the classroom. This second ID would only be accessible if the first was forgotten or lost, and would be required to be back in place in the classroom at the end of the day. This way, every student would have a backup ID in one convenient location. Students who refused to replace their backup ID after using it would simply lose the privilege.

The cash requirement, while it may decrease exorbitant obligations, is unreasonable. Many students do not carry cash with them, and many others rely on the money for lunch or after school transportation. Each student should be allowed two to three IDs purchased through obligations per semester. Blazers are given plenty of notice about their obligations, and most know the consequences for failing to pay at the end of the year. Students who rack up large obligations from ID purchases and delay payment already risk not graduating; their actions should not limit other students who are short a few dollars from buying a new ID through obligations.

Then there are the punishments for "insubordination." The proposed Saturday detentions for failing to wear an ID during the school day have already sparked a wave of protest from students. While they may serve as motivation for many students to wear their IDs, for the many others who are caught ID-less because they simply forgot to put the tag back on after a gym class or laboratory exercise, the detentions will not solve the problem. Students should be given a warning to put on their ID when they exit each class. Students caught without an ID should be asked once to put it on, and only if they refuse should extreme measures like detention even be considered. Parent-administrator conferences for a student's forgetfulness and detentions located at a school up to an hour's drive away are unfair burdens to place on any parent with a busy schedule.

There are a number of tweaks that could make Blair's ID policy easier for students, administrators, security guards, teachers and parents alike. Even students who want IDs abolished altogether would agree that making these changes makes the process much more acceptable.

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

Jessica Cutler. Jessica Cutler is an energetic girl practicing for her intended career as a neuropsychiatrist on her unsuspecting classmates. She enjoys tennis, crosswords, Panera and exploring the Metro system. Also, she's developed a recent affinity for betta fish, and is the proud owner of Robert L. … More »

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