The enforcement of required school ID lanyards this year greets RJ students daily. This new addition to the dress code, maintained through reminders and often demeriting, has students questioning the sudden importance of having them on at all times.
The RJHS handbook states that students are now required to wear their ID lanyard around their neck at all times when on campus. Mike Doherty, Boy Division Dean of Students, says lanyards simply make it easier for students to bring their ID to school.
“Part of the problem with IDs, or even demerit cards, is not everyone carries wallets,” Doherty says. “Having lanyards ensures you have your ID with you.”
In addition to the convenience of lanyards, having IDs on campus serves to aid with other functions. IDs can be scanned to purchase food through personal accounts, they can be quickly referenced for Safe2Tell information and school phone numbers, for staff, getting into doors is a major part of having their lanyards at all times, and they are a simple form of identification.
Girls Division Dean, Meredith Feik, emphasizes the importance of having identification on direct display on students and staff improve the safety of the school.
“ID lanyards make for quicker identification, letting us know that it’s our kids in the building, and ultimately helping us to immediately differentiate between visitors or possible threats.”
Yet the recent COVID-19 pandemic has made visual identification more complicated. Students are required to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus, making facial identification more difficult.
“I know less people in the school now than I ever have with masks and new students,” Doherty says. “There was an incident today with identification and wanting to know the name of a student right away, but face masks make IDs all the more necessary.”
COVID-19 contact tracing is also a factor in the new ID rule, helping track a positive case and quickly getting names of those who were in close proximity, if quarantining should be required.
“Let’s say a student is sitting at a table in the lunchroom with four other kids and is coughing and sneezing,” Feik said. “If I need to interact, I can pull a student’s name almost immediately from their ID.”
The largest pushback from students stems the consequences of not wearing the IDs properly. Students receive emails and reminders, as well as demerits, for having their lanyard in hand, attached to their backpack, or in their pocket, rather than worn around the person’s neck on the front of them.
Dean Feik explained that demeriting is part of the disciplinary system in place at the school, and that she always tries to spend the first few weeks giving gentle reminders before demerits. In the end, it’s for the good of the students.
“An ID is not for discipline, it is for your safety!”