By Isabella Gossweiler
Last year, Oyster Bay High School implemented a new safety policy mandating students to wear their IDs on lanyards around their necks. Administration requires students to use these IDs to sign in when they arrive to school late. However, other than for late sign-ins and general identification, students do not use the IDs, which has garnered complaints among the student body over why they must wear them. Despite students’ opinions, the ID policy will continue to be enforced throughout the 2019-2020 school year.
Many students believed the policy would not be enforced; however, that has not been the case. Administration checks students at the door on a regular basis to ensure they have proper identification. If students do not have their IDs, their names are taken down, and, in some cases, students have had to call home to ask parents to bring their IDs to school. Administrators and staff may also complete ID checks throughout the day.
Although the main reason for enforcing the ID policy is to ensure the safety of students, some wonder how effective the lanyards are. Students may assume that any outsider who could pose a threat to the school will be caught outside the building, before making their way through security. Since the security guards at OBHS are retired police officers, many think they are trained to distinguish between a student and someone who poses a threat to the school. However, as one security guard revealed, that’s not always the case.
Susan, a retired Nassau County Police Officer of 25 years, says, “I am a proponent of the student ID policy.” When students have their IDs displayed, she says she “is able to make sure students coming into the building are, indeed, registered students.”
Unlike teachers who may already know most students, security guards do not know many of them. As the school year continues, they may recognize more of the student body; however, there are still many students to identify. Even if students decide to switch IDs or lend them to friends, Susan still believes the IDs serve their purpose well.
Seeing how much the policy benefits the work of the security guards makes you realize why the policy is strictly enforced. If you don't have an identification card, someone may think you don’t belong and pose a threat.
This policy was initially implemented as a result of the numerous school shootings across the country. As many know, on February 14, 2018, there was a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that took 17 lives. Following that horrific incident, Homeland Security visited Oyster Bay High School. During this visit, officials told OBHS that safety policies needed to be upgraded.
Principal Sharon Lasher says, “Upon the recommendation of Homeland Security, we have increased our safety and security measures, which includes wearing ID cards.”
They suggested implementing identification cards and a closed campus. A closed campus would require all students to stay in the building until school is dismissed. That means seniors and juniors would not be able to leave campus during off periods. OBHS did not yet opt for a closed campus, but administrators did choose to implement IDs.
Most students would prefer the IDs over a closed campus. Senior Skye Johnson says, “I don't know what I’d do if I couldn't leave during my off periods.”
Although some students may question the ID policy or find it “annoying,” the benefits far outweigh the risks. The IDs are enforced to ensure students’ safety at school. Following the rules will only help protect students and staff. So, before you head out the door in the morning, don’t forget to put on that lanyard.
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