Gainous answers parent questions
Principal Phillip Gainous discussed the new ID policy at the PTSA meeting held yesterday at 7:30 p.m. in the media center. A newly revised copy of the policy, updated yesterday afternoon, was distributed at the meeting.
The revised policy allows students up to four temporary IDs before disciplinary action is taken, although students do receive a verbal warning upon receiving their third temporary ID. When they receive their fourth, a robodial call is placed to their home. The fifth time students forget their ID, and for any additional times an ID is forgotten that quarter, students will not receive an ID in class but will instead be sent to their administrators, with parental involvement required. Detention and suspension are given as punishments for the sixth and seventh time, respectively, an ID is forgotten.
Students will still be able to purchase IDs before 7:25 a.m. each morning. If students do not have the money with them, or are otherwise unable to purchase an ID, they will be issued temporary IDs as per the guidelines explained above.
Saturday detention remains the policy for the first instance of insubordination, or the refusal to wear an ID. No warning will be given. The second case of insubordination will result in a minimum of one day suspension.
Before distributing the revised ID policy, Gainous explained the rationale behind the ID policy. When Blair was moved to its new location, parents were concerned about the safety of the area, he said. The closed lunch policy and IDs were two conditions parents asked to be adopted.
He also explained the color-coded lanyards, which he said were put in place to foster a sense of community within the academies. "All the research about small learning community at large schools shows that if we break [the school] down, achievement goes up," Gainous said.
He dismissed the notion that color-coded IDs segregated students, as he has noticed the school coming together, not splitting apart. "This was probably the most spirited spirit week we've had," he said. "There's no division."
Asked about how IDs could be effective if the absence of an ID did not prevent entry, Gainous explained that a system to check IDs at the door was in the original policy decided on over the summer, but was simply not feasible for a school of this size. "I rejected it because I didn't think we have the capacity with 3,000 students to get them into the building in a timely fashion," Gainous said. "I could not tolerate having students standing out in the rain waiting to get into the building."
Agreeing that this ID policy would not necessarily stop intruders from entering, Assistant Principal Linda Wanner explained how the wearing of IDs has still every year increased security at Blair. "Will wearing the ID cause the shooter to not come into the SAC and cause mayhem? Obviously it wouldn't," she said. "But every year someone runs from me when I ask them for their ID…when we bring them down to security we find they were waiting [around] to beat someone up."
Security guard Cedric Boatman added to her argument, noting that parents embroiled in custody battles have entered school to find their child. "We've have parents who've come in to try to deal with their kids when they have a court order not to," he said.
Despite the explanations, not all parents agree that the wearing of IDs will make Blair more secure. "It's not really a security issue, just an administration game," said one parent.
Lois Bangiolo. Lois Bangiolo was born on March 14, pi day, an auspicious date as she is now in the math-science magnet. In addition to writing for Silver Chips Online she runs track and is secretary of the MBHS Key Club. More »