ID Badges Implemented in New Wave of Security Measures


Photo by Emma Trussell

by Abby Blasingame, Editor-in-Chief

All students and staff are required to wear an ID badge, clearly visible on a lanyard, while on campus and using school transportation as of Thursday, Aug. 30. The badges are the first step in a number of new additions aimed at improving security in all Plano ISD senior high schools, including electronically locking doors, unarmed security monitors and a PA system.

“There are little things we’ve done along the way to enhance security, so we were thinking ‘Well, we’re on the right track. We’re doing some things,’” Principal George King said. “But when you stop and compare it to what happened in Parkland [you realize] whatever we’re doing isn’t even close to preventing something like this.”

The locking door system will be completed sometime during the fall semester, while the installation of a new PA system will likely not arrive until the spring semester. A PA system would eliminate the difficulty of memorizing bell codes but the district must undergo the bidding process with contractors for the lowest price.

“This is a new step for all of us,” Associate Principal of Student Activities Robert Eppler said. “There will be lots of tweaks and things that we’ll have to make.”

Straggler doors will be marked with a pink sticker and students must buzz in, showing their ID to security cameras in order to enter. Although doors are locked during classes, students are not locked inside the building. Additionally, students should not open locked doors for anyone, even a friend.

“I know that’s hard as a student to say ‘No, you can’t get in,’ but we’re only as safe as everybody following the process,” Eppler said.

Badges cannot be concealed under clothing, in a wallet or in pockets. In the case of a forgotten badge, students can pick up a temporary badge from their subschool but lost IDs must be replaced for a $5 fee. Although there is no firm rule at this point, frequent failure to wear a badge will ultimately result in disciplinary action.

“I’m going to try to get every kid’s, who is obstinate about having to wear an ID badge, head wrapped around [this],” King said. “Here’s the day and time that we live. Everybody’s got to do their part. You’re not special. We’ve got to have you on board.”

IB seniors Jonathan Bernhardt and Hunter Ackridge created a petition to abolish the new ID policy, claiming inconvenience and ineffectiveness of the new policy, amongst other grievances. As of Wednesday, Aug. 29, 129 people signed.

“I noticed that there was considerable discontent among the student body against the new ID policy and I thought that someone needed to capture the discontent and help channel it in a more productive way,” Bernhardt said.

The school will provide students with lanyards but fashion-focused students can buy trendier lanyards if they choose.

“The needs of preventing a school shooting far outweigh the inconveniences that we’re having to put up with,” King said. “Yes, your world has been made more inconvenient [but] your world has dramatically improved its safety.”